Senior Thesis Overconfidence and Priming

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Running head: PRIMING AND OVERCONFIDENCE

Misuse of Priming Effects Overconfidence

Abstract
This experiment was designed to test whether priming participants through testing can lead to overconfidence on further testing when the information changes. 36 Participants were selected from the ------- to participate in this experiment. The participants were given reading comprehension tests that were amended from Pearson-Longman Education testing materials. 18 participants were given Test 1 followed by a Control Test, and 18 participants were given Test 1 followed by an Experiment Test. Control Test participants did not exhibit a priming effect nor did Experiment Test participants exhibit overconfidence. It was also shown that statistically Test 1 did not have any correlation between either the Control Test or the Experiment Test. Other research indicated that participants in testing tend to exhibit underconfidence in subsequent testing, and I believe that this is correct; however, further research should be conducted to further understanding of the Priming Effect.

Misuse of Priming Effects Overconfidence
Implicit forms of memory (unconscious, unconscious retrieval) have used priming to explain how the recollection of information can be hindered or helped. These tests typically show that participants improved performance on tasks for which they have been subconsciously prepared (Graf and Mandler, 1984). The overconfidence effect is a well-established bias in which someone's subjective confidence in their judgments is reliably greater than their objective accuracy, especially when confidence is relatively high (Pallier, 2002). The current research will use priming to affect confidence on subsequent tasks.

The experiment of Allwood, Innes-Ker, Homgren and Fredin, (2008) showed the importance of question format when measuring confidence in people. This also is evident in several studies involving the priming effect. Stolz (2005) showed that test subjects increased their reliability to significant levels under conditions that lent themselves to help with target recognition. The priming affect with implicit memory was only evident in specific instances of the word recall test until the test was tailored to help exhibit priming. Other research such as Jacoby and Dallas (1981) demonstrates that the priming effect is severely reduced by the change in modality from the studying of words to be recalled to the testing. With respect to overconfidence, illusions of competence are thought to occur when judgments of learning (JOLs) made in the presence of intact cue-target pairs during study create a foresight bias or an illusion of competence, such that JOLs are inflated by the apparent association between a cue and a target by a magnitude much greater than the true benefit the association has for recall performance (Koriat and Bjork, 2005). Tiede and Leboe (2009) showed that overconfidence was found for homophones, synonyms, words spelled similarly, and unrelated items in their word pairs recall tests, whereas no overconfidence was found for word pairs with a relatively high forward-semantic association. Research from Finn and Melcalf (2007) has shown that judgments about upcoming test performance generally exhibit overconfidence, whereby they are higher on average than mean test performance. This finding is widely, but not always found. The conclusion that people are usually overconfident is at odds with the findings of Koriat, Sheffer, and Ma’ayan (2002) showing that overconfidence is confined to the first trial in a multitrial learning situation. Judgment inaccuracy witnessed in the first trial as overconfidence, shifts toward underconfidence in Trial 2 and beyond. This phenomenon has been dubbed the Underconfidence With Practice effect. The primary goal of this study is to examine if the misuse of priming from one test can lead to overconfidence on the next. Misuse can be illustrated by priming participants from the...
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