How people cope with uncertainty due to chance or deception

Yaacov Schul , Ruth Mayo , Eugene Burnstein , Naomi Yahalom


In making social judgments people process effects caused by humans differently from effects caused by non-human agencies. We assume that when they have to predict outcomes that are attributed to non-human causes, people acknowledge their ignorance and try to focus on what is most diagnostic. However, when events are attributed to human agency, they believe that nothing is arbitrary and that one can understand the decision situation well enough to eliminate error. If so, then people should behave differently when an uncertainty is attributed to chance (a non-human agency) or to deception (a human agency). We tested this prediction using the probability-matching paradigm and found reasonable support for our analysis in four experiments. Individuals who attributed uncertainty to deception were less likely to adopt the optimal rule-based strategy than those who attributed it to chance. Indeed, only when the former were prevented from thinking about and elaborating the outcomes (the high-interference condition in Experiment 3) was their performance comparable to the level of individuals in the chance condition.
Author Yaacov Schul
Yaacov Schul,,
, Ruth Mayo
Ruth Mayo,,
, Eugene Burnstein (Wydział Psychologii)
Eugene Burnstein,,
- Wydział Psychologii
, Naomi Yahalom
Naomi Yahalom,,
Journal seriesJournal of Social Psychology, ISSN 0022-4545, (A 15 pkt)
Issue year2007
Publication size in sheets0.6
Keywords in EnglishUncertainty; Distrust; Decision-making; Prediction-strategy; Deception
ASJC Classification3207 Social Psychology
Languageen angielski
2007_-_Y_Schul_-_Howpeoplecopewithuncertaintyduetochanceordeception[retrieved-2016-03-12].pdf 303.48 KB
Score (nominal)20
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2014 = 0.91; WoS Impact Factor: 2007 = 0.86 (2) - 2007=1.079 (5)
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