The Illusion of the Illusion of Control

Francesca Gino, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
Zachariah Sharek, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
Don Moore, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
Prior research has found that people confuse skill and chance situations and, as a result, show the illusion of control: they exaggerate probabilities of success by overestimating personal control (Langer, 1975). We question whether this effect is due to bias, and instead suggest that people understandably overestimate how much control they have when actual control is low. By focusing on situations with low control, prior research has created the illusion that people generally overestimate their control. We show that prior effects do not replicate under conditions of high control: when people have high control, they underestimate their control.
[ to cite ]:
Francesca Gino, Zachariah Sharek, and Don Moore (2009) ,"The Illusion of the Illusion of Control", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 595-595.