Conveniently dependent or naively overconfident? An experimental study on the reaction to external help. Academic Article uri icon


  • The rapid development and diffusion of new technologies such as automation and artificial intelligence makes life more convenient. At the same time, people may develop overdependence on technology to simplify everyday tasks or to reduce the level of effort required to accomplish them. We conduct a two-phase real-effort laboratory experiment to assess how external assistance affects subsequent revealed preferences for the convenience of a lower level of effort versus monetary rewards requiring greater effort. The results suggest that men treated with external help in the first phase tend to choose more difficult options with potentially higher monetary rewards. In contrast, after being treated with external help, women exhibit a stronger propensity to utilize the convenience of an easier task and are less likely to choose a more difficult option that carries higher potential earnings.

published proceedings

  • PLoS One

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, Y., Xu, Z., & Palma, M. A.

citation count

  • 1

editor list (cited editors)

  • GarcĂ­a-Gallego, A.

publication date

  • January 2019