The disutility of the hard-easy effect in choice confidence

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Authors
Merkle, Edgar C.
Issue Date
2009-02
Type
Article
Language
eng
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Abstract

A common finding in confidence research is the hard-easy effect, in which judges exhibit greater overconfidence for more difficult sets of questions. Many explanations have been advanced for the hard-easy effect, including systematic cognitive mechanisms, experimenter bias, random error, and statistical artifact. In this article, I mathematically derive necessary and sufficient conditions for observing a hard-easy effect, and I relate these conditions to previous explanations for the effect. I conclude that all types of judges exhibit the hard-easy effect in almost all realistic situations. Thus, the effect's presence cannot be used to distinguish between judges or to draw support for specific models of confidence elicitation.

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Citation
Psychonomic bulletin & review. 2009 Feb; 16(1): 204-13.
Publisher
Springer New York LLC
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ISSN
1069-9384
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