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First Impressions Matter: A Model of Confirmatory Bias*

First Impressions Matter: A Model of Confirmatory Bias* Psychological research indicates that people have a cognitive bias that leads them to misinterpret new information as supporting previously held hypotheses. We show in a simple model that such confirmatory bias induces overconfidence: given any probabilistic assessment by an agent that one of two hypotheses is true, the appropriate beliefs would deem it less likely to be true. Indeed, the hypothesis that the agent believes in may be more likely to be wrong than right. We also show that the agent may come to believe with near certainty in a false hypothesis despite receiving an infinite amount of information. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Quarterly Journal of Economics Oxford University Press

First Impressions Matter: A Model of Confirmatory Bias*

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References (67)

Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
© Published by Oxford University Press.
Subject
Articles
ISSN
0033-5533
eISSN
1531-4650
DOI
10.1162/003355399555945
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Psychological research indicates that people have a cognitive bias that leads them to misinterpret new information as supporting previously held hypotheses. We show in a simple model that such confirmatory bias induces overconfidence: given any probabilistic assessment by an agent that one of two hypotheses is true, the appropriate beliefs would deem it less likely to be true. Indeed, the hypothesis that the agent believes in may be more likely to be wrong than right. We also show that the agent may come to believe with near certainty in a false hypothesis despite receiving an infinite amount of information.

Journal

The Quarterly Journal of EconomicsOxford University Press

Published: Feb 1, 1999

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