Clouds Make Nerds Look Good: Field Evidence of the Impact of Incidental Factors on Decision Making

23 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2006

See all articles by Uri Simonsohn

Uri Simonsohn

Ramon Llull University - ESADE Business School

Date Written: August 2006

Abstract

Abundant experimental research has documented that incidental primes and emotions are capable of influencing people's judgments and choices. This paper examines whether the influence of such incidental factors is large enough to be observable in the field, by analyzing 682 actual university admission decisions. As predicted, applicants' academic attributes are weighted more heavily on cloudier days, and non-academic attributes on sunnier days. The documented effects are of both statistical and practical significance: changes in cloudcover can increase a candidate's predicted probability of admission by an average of up to 11.9%. These results also shed light on the causes behind the long demonstrated unreliability of experts making repeated judgments from the same data.

Keywords: Naturalistic decision making, priming, university admissions, incidental emotions, Field Data, bootstrapped experts

JEL Classification: A22, D10, D12

Suggested Citation

Simonsohn, Uri, Clouds Make Nerds Look Good: Field Evidence of the Impact of Incidental Factors on Decision Making (August 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=906872 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.906872

Uri Simonsohn (Contact Author)

Ramon Llull University - ESADE Business School ( email )

Avinguda de la Torre Blanca, 59
Sant Cugat del Vall├Ęs, 08172
Spain

HOME PAGE: http://urisohn.com

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