Do we prefer consensual advice - even when it is detrimental to our judgment quality?
by Stella Katherina Wanzel
Date of Examination:2017-12-11
Date of issue:2019-07-23
Advisor:Prof. Dr. Stefan Schulz-Hardt
Referee:Prof. Dr. Stefan Schulz-Hardt
Referee:Prof. Dr. Michael Waldmann
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Name:Dissertation Stella Wanzel.pdf
EnglishIn our daily lives we frequently seek the advice of multiple persons to make informed judgements and decisions. Often, these opinions are not independent from each other but rather are correlated to some degree. This interdependence can result from individuals’ influencing each other, from using the same data, working in the same organization, etc. Previous literature has shown that interdependent opinions are less accurate, but also more consistent (in terms of similarity between the opinions) than independent opinions. Since independent opinions are more accurate individuals should prefer these over interdependent opinions. However, since the latter display a higher (albeit spurious) consensus individuals might take this as a signal for accuracy. In the present thesis I investigated individuals’ preference for interdependent vs. independent opinions in a set of overall 6 studies. In the first manuscript I disentangle a possible confound between interdependence of opinions and the similarity to the judge’s own estimate. In the second manuscript I explore individuals’ preference by giving them the opportunity to choose between interdependent and independent advice as well as by investigating how much they take both types of advice into account in scenarios where interdependent advice is more accurate as well as when it is less accurate than independent advice. My studies show, that individuals show a preference for dependent advice only when weighting it. When given the opportunity to choose, they pick the more accurate advice independent of its consistency.
Keywords: Advice; Judgment; Decision making; Interdependent opinions; Correlated opinions