Research Repository

When Imitating Successful Others Fails: Accidentally Successful Exemplars Inspire Risky Decisions and can Hamper Performance

Van Tilburg, Wijnand Adriaan Pieter and Mahadevan, Nikhila (2019) 'When Imitating Successful Others Fails: Accidentally Successful Exemplars Inspire Risky Decisions and can Hamper Performance.' Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. ISSN 1747-0218

[img]
Preview
Text
QJEP Author Accepted.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (1MB) | Preview

Abstract

We examined the impact of viewing exemplars on people’s behavior in risky decision-making environments. Specifically, we tested if people disproportionally choose to view and then imitate the behavior of successful (vs. unsuccessful) others, which in the case of risky decision-making increases risk-taking and can hamper performance. In doing so, our research tested how a fundamental social psychological process (social influence) interacts with a fundamental statistical phenomenon (regression to the mean) to produce biases in decision-making. Experiment 1 (N = 96) showed that people indeed model their own behavior after that of a successful exemplar, resulting in more risky behavior and poorer outcomes. Experiment 2 (N = 208) indicated that people disproportionally choose to examine and then imitate most-successful versus least-successful exemplars. Experiment 3 (N = 381) replicated Experiment 2 in a context where we offered participants the full freedom to examine any possible exemplar or no exemplar whatsoever, and across different incentive conditions. The results have implications for decision-making in a broad range of social contexts such as education, health, and finances where risk-taking can have detrimental outcomes, and they may be particularly helpful to understand the role of social influence in gambling behavior.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: risk; exemplar; decision-making; uncertainty; role model
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2019 14:53
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2019 15:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/26193

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item