Adam Barnas, Megan K. Dailey, Kristen A. Kemp, Peter M. Sismour



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Previous research has shown that overconfidence, or the belief that one can perform better on a task than one actually can, is associated with risky behavior, or the willingness to place high bets on uncertain answers (Campbell, Goodie, & Foster, 2004). The present research evaluated the relationship between overconfidence, risky behavior, and narcissism, or excessive self-admiration that leads to an unrealistic view about one's physical and mental capabilities. Participants were given a series of questionnaires and completed assessments of overconfidence, risky behavior and narcissism. They were then assigned either to place bets using virtual money to express their confidence in the accuracy of their answer (betting condition) to a series of general knowledge questions (GKQs), or to rate their confidence in their ability to accurately answer (confidence condition) the same series of GKQs. To examine the effect of timing on reported confidence, participants either rated their confidence before or after responding to each GKQ. To examine the effect of feedback on confidence, participants either received or did not receive feedback after answering each GKQ. Preliminary analyses reveal that participants in the betting condition were less overconfident than participants in the confidence condition, and that there was no significant relationship between narcissism and overconfidence. Additional analyses are expected to indicate that participants receiving feedback after answering the GKQ will show a reduction in confidence over the course of responding to the GKQs. Consistent with other published research (Mamassian, 2008), results are expected to indicate that confidence will be greater before responding to the GKQ, an effect of anticipatory overconfidence, or inability to estimate the magnitude of subjective uncertainty in decision making.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Independent Research

Primary Advisor

Susan T. Davis

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth is: Feedback Reduces Overconfidence When Betting