Overconfidence in interval estimates.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Judges were asked to make numerical estimates (e.g., "In what year was the first flight of a hot air balloon?"). Judges provided high and low estimates such that they were X% sure that the correct answer lay between them. They exhibited substantial overconfidence: The correct answer fell inside their intervals much less than X% of the time. This contrasts with choices between 2 possible answers to a question, which showed much less overconfidence. The authors show that overconfidence in interval estimates can result from variability in setting interval widths. However, the main cause is that subjective intervals are systematically too narrow given the accuracy of one's information-sometimes only 40% as large as necessary to be well calibrated. The degree of overconfidence varies greatly depending on how intervals are elicited. There are also substantial differences among domains and between male and female judges. The authors discuss the possible psychological mechanisms underlying this pattern of findings.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Soll, JB; Klayman, J

Published Date

  • March 2004

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 30 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 299 - 314

PubMed ID

  • 14979805

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1939-1285

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0278-7393

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037/0278-7393.30.2.299


  • eng