The 'Future Is Now' Bias: Anchoring and (Insufficient) Adjustment When Predicting the Future from the Present
57 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2019
Date Written: June 24, 2019
In the present research, we document a novel forecasting bias, which we term the “future is now” (FIN) bias. Specifically, we show that people tend to believe that the future will mirror the present, even when such a belief is unfounded. That is, people overestimate the chances that whatever is happening now, will happen in the future, even when the (known) explicit probabilities of future outcomes contradict such a belief. This appears to be driven by an anchoring and (insufficient) adjustment process, whereby initial beliefs about the future are heavily influenced by the present circumstances, and then subsequent beliefs are not sufficiently adjusted once the probabilities of future outcomes are learned. Across nine studies (employing over 3,800 participants), we demonstrate the FIN bias in a variety of forecasting contexts, show that it manifests in incentive compatible settings, and provide evidence in support of an anchoring and (insufficient) adjustment mechanistic account.
Keywords: anchoring and adjustment, status-quo, forecasting, prediction, beliefs, heuristics
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