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    Unrealistic comparative optimism: an unsuccessful search for evidence of a genuinely motivational bias

    Yechiam, E. and Harris, A.J.L. and de Molière, L. and Soh, Melinda and Hahn, Ulrike (2017) Unrealistic comparative optimism: an unsuccessful search for evidence of a genuinely motivational bias. PLoS One 12 (3), e0173136. ISSN 1932-6203.

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    Abstract

    One of the most accepted findings across psychology is that people are unrealistically optimistic in their judgments of comparative risk concerning future life events—they judge negative events as less likely to happen to themselves than to the average person. Harris and Hahn (2011), however, demonstrated how unbiased (non-optimistic) responses can result in data patterns commonly interpreted as indicative of optimism due to statistical artifacts. In the current paper, we report the results of 5 studies that control for these statistical confounds and observe no evidence for residual unrealistic optimism, even observing a ‘severity effect’ whereby severe outcomes were overestimated relative to neutral ones (Studies 3 & 4). We conclude that there is no evidence supporting an optimism interpretation of previous results using the prevalent comparison method.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2017 10:50
    Last Modified: 29 Jul 2019 15:05
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/18926

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