Date of Completion

8-24-2012

Embargo Period

8-24-2012

Open Access

Open Access

Abstract

Overconfident judgments are common. We are often more confident about things than we should be, and this may lead us to make maladaptive decisions. Debiasing confidence by cuing people in to how confident they should be could help people make better choices. However, people may be unwilling to accept debiasing information if doing so implies their own ignorance. This study examined whether self-affirmation can buffer people against threats to self-image, helping people to accept debiasing cues. I hypothesized that combining a cue with self-affirmation would lead to enhanced debiasing over cues or self-affirmation alone. In order to investigate this hypothesis, first a pilot study was used to create veridical cues for implementation in the main experimental design. The experiment used a memory task in which participants were asked to rate their confidence for future recall. The experiment used a 2 (cue) x 2 (self-affirmation) experimental design. No evidence for the effect of self-affirmation, or the interaction between cue and self-affirmation was found. Consequently, the experimental hypothesis was not supported. Future research may seek to investigate whether a stronger self-affirmation manipulation, or whether using a task with greater inherent self-threat, changes these results.

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