Self-Centered Beliefs: An Empirical Approach

We perform an experiment designed to assess the accuracy of beliefs about distributions. The beliefs relate to behavior (mobile phone purchasing decisions, hypothetical restaurant choices), attitudes (happiness, politics) and observable characteristics (height, weight) and are typically formed through real world experiences. We find a powerful and ubiquitous bias in perceptions that is “self-centered” in the sense that an individual’s beliefs about the population distribution changes with their own position in the distribution. In particular, those at extremes tend to perceive themselves as closer to the middle of the distribution than is the case. We discuss possible explanations for this bias.


Issue Date:
2012-02
Publication Type:
Working or Discussion Paper
Record Identifier:
http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/270746
Language:
English
Total Pages:
39
JEL Codes:
D03; C83; D84
Series Statement:
WERP 978




 Record created 2018-04-05, last modified 2018-04-12

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