A. R. Smith

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The present research concerns the hypothesis that intuitive estimates of the arithmetic mean of a sample of numbers tend to increase as a function of the sample size; that is, they reflect a systematic sample size bias. A similar bias has been observed when people judge the average member of a group of people on an inferred quantity (e.g., a disease risk;(More)
People are often egocentric when judging their likelihood of success in competitions, leading to overoptimism about winning when circumstances are generally easy and to overpessimism when the circumstances are difficult. Yet, egocentrism might be grounded in a rational tendency to favor highly reliable information (about the self) more so than less reliable(More)
In 5 experiments, college students exhibited a group size effect on risk judgments. As the number of individuals in a target group increased, so did participants' judgments of the risk of the average member of the group for a variety of negative life events. This happened regardless of whether the stimuli consisted of photographs of real peers or(More)
Females commonly prefer to mate with males that provide greater material benefits, which they often select using correlated male signals. When females select higher-benefit males based on correlated signals, however, males can potentially deceive females by producing exaggerated signals of benefit quality. The handicap mechanism can prevent lower-quality(More)
People must often perform calculations in order to produce a numeric estimate (e.g., a grocery-store shopper estimating the total price of his or her shopping cart contents). The current studies were designed to test whether estimates based on calculations are influenced by comparisons with irrelevant anchors. Previous research has demonstrated that(More)
Effects of exposure to a severe weather disaster on perceived future vulnerability were assessed in college students, local residents contacted through random-digit dialing, and community residents of affected versus unaffected neighborhoods. Students and community residents reported being less vulnerable than their peers at 1 month, 6 months, and 1 year(More)
People must often engage in sequential sampling in order to make predictions about the relative quantities of two options. We investigated how directional motives influence sampling selections and resulting predictions in such cases. We used a paradigm in which participants had limited time to sample items and make predictions about which side of the screen(More)
When judging their likelihood of success in competitive tasks, people tend to be overoptimistic for easy tasks and overpessimistic for hard tasks (the shared circumstance effect; SCE). Previous research has shown that feedback and experience from repeated-play competitions has a limited impact on SCEs. However, in this paper, we suggest that competitive(More)
The biasing influence of anchors on numerical estimates is well established, but the relationship between knowledge level and the susceptibility to anchoring effects is less clear. In two studies, we addressed the potential mitigating effects of having knowledge in a domain on vulnerability to anchoring effects in that domain. Of critical interest was a(More)