Social comparison and confidence: When thinking you're better than average predicts overconfidence (and when it does not)

Journal Article (Journal Article)

A common social comparison bias-the better-than-average-effect-is frequently described as psychologically equivalent to the individual-level judgment bias known as overconfidence. However, research has found "Hard-easy" effects for each bias that yield a seemingly paradoxical reversal: Hard tasks tend to produce overconfidence but worse-than-average perceptions, whereas easy tasks tend to produce underconfidence and better-than-average effects. We argue that the two biases are in fact positively related because they share a common psychological basis in subjective feelings of competence, but that the "hard-easy" reversal is both empirically possible and logically necessary under specifiable conditions. Two studies are presented to support these arguments. We find little support for personality differences in these biases, and conclude that domain-specific feelings of competence account best for their relationship to each other. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Larrick, RP; Burson, KA; Soll, JB

Published Date

  • January 1, 2007

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 102 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 76 - 94

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0749-5978

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.obhdp.2006.10.002

Citation Source

  • Scopus