Categorical Confidence

29 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2010

See all articles by Baruch Fischhoff

Baruch Fischhoff

Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Institute for Politics and Strategy, Carnegie Mellon University

Donald G. MacGregor

MacGregor-Bates, Inc.

Sarah Lichtenstein

Decision Research

Date Written: 1983

Abstract

People tend to be inadequately sensitive to the extent of their own knowledge. This insensitivity typically emerges as overconfidence. That is, people’s assessments of the probability of having answered questions correctly are typically too high compared to the portion of questions they get right. Few debiasing procedures have proven effective against this problem. Those that have worked seem to be directive in character. Rather than improving subjects’ feeling for how much they know, such procedures may have suggested to subjects how their probability assessments should be changed. These successful manipulations include giving feedback and requiring subjects to provide reasons contradicting their chosen answers. The present study attempted to improve the appropriateness of confidence with a nondirective method. Subjects were asked to sort items into a specified number of piles according to their confidence in the correctness of their answers. Subsequently, they assigned a number to each pile expressing the probability that each item in the pile was correct.

(Report No. 81-10)

Suggested Citation

Fischhoff, Baruch and MacGregor, Donald G. and Lichtenstein, Sarah, Categorical Confidence (1983). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1590563 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1590563

Baruch Fischhoff (Contact Author)

Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Institute for Politics and Strategy, Carnegie Mellon University ( email )

Baker Hall 129
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
United States
412-268-3246 (Phone)

Donald G. MacGregor

MacGregor-Bates, Inc. ( email )

1010 Villard Ave.
Cottage Grove, OR 97424
United States
(541) 942-5727 (Phone)

Sarah Lichtenstein

Decision Research ( email )

1201 Oak Street, Suite 200
Eugene, OR 97401
United States

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