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Spurious Consensus and Opinion Revision: Why Might People Be More Confident in Their Less Accurate Judgments?

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  • Ilan Yaniv
  • Shoham Choshen-Hillel
  • Maxim Milyavsky

Abstract

In the interest of improving their decision-making, individuals revise their opinions on the basis of samples of opinions obtained from others. However, such a revision process may lead decision-makers to experience greater confidence in their less accurate judgments. We theorize that people tend to underestimate the informative value of independently drawn opinions, if these appear to conflict with one another, yet place some confidence even in the "spurious consensus" which may arise when opinions are sampled interdependently. The experimental task involved people’s revision of their opinions (caloric estimates of foods) on the basis of advice. The method of sampling the advisory opinions (independent or interdependent) was the main factor. The results reveal a dissociation between confidence and accuracy. A theoretical underlying mechanism is suggested whereby people attend to consensus (consistency) cues at the expense of information on interdependence. Implications for belief-updating and for individual and group decisions are discussed.

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  • Ilan Yaniv & Shoham Choshen-Hillel & Maxim Milyavsky, 2008. "Spurious Consensus and Opinion Revision: Why Might People Be More Confident in Their Less Accurate Judgments?," Discussion Paper Series dp492, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  • Handle: RePEc:huj:dispap:dp492
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Weber, Elke U. & B Ckenholt, Ulf & Hilton, Denis J. & Wallace, Brian, 2000. "Confidence judgments as expressions of experienced decision conflict," Risk, Decision and Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(01), pages 69-100, April.
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    4. Kroll, Yoram & Levy, Haim & Rapoport, Amnon, 1988. "Experimental Tests of the Separation Theorem and the Capital Asset Pricing Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 500-519, June.
    5. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 1992. "A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change in Informational Cascades," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 992-1026, October.
    6. Yaniv, Ilan, 1997. "Weighting and Trimming: Heuristics for Aggregating Judgments under Uncertainty," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 237-249, March.
    7. Sniezek, Janet A., 1992. "Groups under uncertainty: An examination of confidence in group decision making," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 124-155, June.
    8. Yaniv, Ilan, 2004. "Receiving other people's advice: Influence and benefit," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 1-13, January.
    9. Richard P. Larrick & Jack B. Soll, 2006. "Intuitions About Combining Opinions: Misappreciation of the Averaging Principle," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(1), pages 111-127, January.
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