When is Difficult Planning Good Planning? The Effects of Scenario-Based Planning on Optimistic Prediction Bias

Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Forthcoming

42 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2010

See all articles by Kyeong Sam Min

Kyeong Sam Min

University of New Orleans

Hal R. Arkes

Ohio State University - Department of Psychology

Date Written: December 11, 2010

Abstract

As a general rule, individuals tend to be optimistic in predicting when they will complete an upcoming activity. Building upon the ease of generation theory, we examined how dividing the planning process into multiple steps would impact the magnitude of optimism in “real world” planning. In Experiment 1 we found a decrease in optimistic prediction bias when individuals described their plan by generating a relatively difficult 5-step, rather than a relatively easy 2-step, optimistic scenario. In Experiment 2 the bias diminished when individuals generated the easy, rather than difficult, pessimistic scenario. In Experiment 3 the bias decreased even among individuals who generated the easy, rather than difficult, optimistic scenario when they were led to negatively interpret the feeling of ease.

Keywords: Planning Difficulty, Optimistic Prediction Bias, Scenario Planning, Planning Fallacy

Suggested Citation

Min, Kyeong Sam and Arkes, Hal R., When is Difficult Planning Good Planning? The Effects of Scenario-Based Planning on Optimistic Prediction Bias (December 11, 2010). Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1723942

Kyeong Sam Min (Contact Author)

University of New Orleans ( email )

2000 Lakeshore Dr.
College of Business Administration
New Orleans, LA 70148
United States
504-280-6195 (Phone)

Hal R. Arkes

Ohio State University - Department of Psychology ( email )

240N Lazenby Hall
1885 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States
614-292-1592 (Phone)
614-688-3984 (Fax)

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