Conditional Projection: How Own Evaluations Impact Beliefs about Others Whose Choices Are Known
66 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2011 Last revised: 11 Jul 2012
Date Written: April 10, 2012
We study how a person’s evaluation of choice options influences her estimates of other people’s evaluations when their choices are known. People rely on the relation between their own evaluations and their final decision to make sense of others, projecting their evaluations of the corresponding options. A person’s liking of the option she chose between two alternatives influences her estimates of others’ liking of the option they chose, regardless of whether it matches her own choice. Likewise, her evaluation of the option she rejected affects her estimate of others’ evaluations of the option they rejected. Across four studies, we provide evidence of conditional projection in political and consumer decisions, using across-people differences in ratings of choice options, within-person changes in ratings, as well as manipulated differences in participants’ ratings. We demonstrate that existing accounts of projection would not directly predict our findings, and rule out other alternative explanations.
Keywords: Beliefs, Projection, False Consensus
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