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Experiment Author: Susan Campbell. Adapted from STEP and used with permission of Brian MacWhinney
This study compared the confidence of participants in their answers to two-choice trivia questions. One group were asked to answer questions as normal and provide a probability that their answer was correct. The other was asked to answer the question, then provide reasons for and against each choice, then provide a probability that their answer was correct.
This experiment has two blocks of trials with separate instructions. In both blocks, participants answer trivia questions and rate their confidence after each answer on a scale of 0-100. ResonsPresList additionally asks participants to write a reason for and against both possible answers. Then participants answer the question and rate their confidence. The ControlPresList does not require participants give a reason. This list only asks a trivia question, followed by a confidence rating. The order of ReasonPresList and ControlPresList are randomized in the BlockList. Each list is restricted to sampling 25 trivia questions each, pulled from 156 total trivia questions located in TriviaQuestions List.
Koriat, A., Lichtenstein, S., Fischhoff, B. (1980). Reasons for Confidence. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning and Memory 6(2), 107-118.
Cited Experiment Abstract
People are often overconfident in evaluating the correctness of their knowledge. The present studies investigated the possibility that assessment of confidence is biased by attempts to justify one’s chosen answer. These attempts include selectively focusing on evidence supporting the chosen answer and disregarding evidence contradicting it. Experiment 1 presented subjects with two-alternative questions and required them to list reasons for and against each of the alternatives prior to choosing an answer and then to list (a) one reason supporting that choice, (b) one reason contradicting it, or (c) one reason supporting and one reason contradicting. Only the listing of contradicting reasons improved the appropriateness of confidence. Correlational analyses of the data of Experiment 1 strongly suggested that the confidence depends on the amount and strength of the evidence supporting the answer chosen.
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