Are People Excessive Or Judicious In Their Egocentrism? A Modeling Approach To Understanding Bias And Accuracy In People’s Optimism

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Andrew Smith Ph.D, Associate Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: People are often egocentric when judging their likelihood of success in competitions, leading to overoptimism about winning when circumstances are generally easy and to overpessimism when the circumstances are difficult. Yet, egocentrism might be grounded in a rational tendency to favor highly reliable information (about the self) more so than less reliable information (about others). A generaltheory of probability called extended support theory was used to conceptualize and assess the role of egocentrism and its consequences for the accuracy of people’s optimism in 3 competitions (Studies 1–3,respectively). Also, instructions were manipulated to test whether people who were urged to avoid egocentrism would show improved or worsened accuracy in their likelihood judgments. Egocentrism wasfound to have a potentially helpful effect on one form of accuracy, but people generally showed too much egocentrism. Debias instructions improved one form of accuracy but had no impact on another. The advantages of using the EST framework for studying optimism and other types of judgments (e.g.,comparative ability judgments) are discussed.

Additional Information

Paul D. Windschitl, Jason P. Rose, Michael T. Stalkfleet, and Andrew R. Smith (2008) "Are People Excessive or Judicious in Their Egocentrism? A Modeling Approach to Understanding Bias and Accuracy in People’s Optimism" Journal of Personality and Social Psychology vol. 95, No.2 pp. 253-273. Version of Record available @ (DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.95.2.253)
Language: English
Date: 2008
egocentrism, optimism, likelihood-judgement, comparative-judgement, shared-circumstance-effect

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