The credible intervals that people set around their point estimates are typically too narrow (cf. Lichtenstein, Fischhoff, & Phillips, 1982). That is, a set of many such intervals does not contain the actual values of the criterion variables as often as it should given the probability assigned to this event for each estimate. The typical interpretation of such data is that people are overconfident about the accuracy of their judgments. This paper presents data from two studies showing the typical levels of overconfidence for individual estimates of unknown quantities. However, data from the same subjects on a different measure of confidence for the same items, their own global assessment for the set of multiple estimates as a whole, showed significantly lower levels of confidence and overconfidence than their average individual assessment for items in the set. It is argued that the event and global assessments of judgment quality are fundamentally different and are affected by unique psychological processes. Finally, we discuss the implications of a difference between confidence in single and multiple estimates for confidence research and theory.
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making – Wiley
Published: Oct 1, 1991
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