Overconfidence as Dissonance Reduction Academic Article uri icon


  • People are often more confident than accurate. Past accounts of this overconfidence effect have focused on social-cognitive mechanisms, such as the biasing effects of judgmental heuristics and the faulty integration of relevant information. The current studies tested the idea that overconfidence is also a product of dissonance reduction. Specifically, we argue that overconfidence can result from a desire to see the self as knowledgeable and competent. In two studies, the motive to view the self as an accurate perceiver elevated confidence, independent of its effects on accuracy. This effect was diminished by manipulations derived from cognitive dissonance theory. In Study 1, confidence ratings were debiased by an affirmation manipulation designed to boost feelings of self-worth. In Study 2, confidence ratings were debiased by a manipulation designed to lower the aversive implications of feeling uncertain. These findings argue for a motivational perspective on overconfidence. 2001 Academic Press.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Blanton, H., Pelham, B. W., DeHart, T., & Carvallo, M.

citation count

  • 61

complete list of authors

  • Blanton, Hart||Pelham, Brett W||DeHart, Tracy||Carvallo, Mauricio

publication date

  • January 2001