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Title: When do we know our own choices? : investigation of false feedback phenomena
Author: Kirichek, Mariya
ISNI:       0000 0004 6496 5688
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2017
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It is widely assumed that people have direct access to knowledge about themselves, such as their preferences or propensities to behaviour. However, research has shown that people often accept bogus feedback about personal characteristics and decisions, even when it completely contradicts information they stated previously. This thesis investigates two examples of such feedback acceptance, the Barnum effect (Meehl, 1956) and choice blindness (Johansson, Hall, Sikström & Olsson, 2005), to explore the conditions required for false feedback to create a false perception of one’s choices. The Barnum effect refers to the tendency to accept false feedback about one’s personal characteristics when it is thoughts to be derived from personality measures. The first paper explores whether undergoing the Barnum effect can influence people’s perception of choices they would make in the future. We find that whilst the Barnum effect does occur, this does not alter people’s self-reported propensity to behaviour. Choice blindness demonstrates that, following a choice, people are often willing to accept the non-selected alternative as the indicated outcome, if this is suggested by feedback. The remaining work presented here investigates which parameters of choice and feedback can determine how likely it is that people will experience choice blindness. The results suggest that people’s susceptibility to choice blindness varies with the number of alternatives presented in the choice task, the framing (positive or negative) of the task itself, and whether the option presented as false feedback was encountered as part of the choice, in a different context, or not encountered at all. I conclude that the effects of false feedback on self-perception are situation dependent, however, difficult to eliminate completely, at least in some domains. The implications are discussed in light of past literature on false feedback effects, as well as related fields such as preferential choice, introspection, error detection and behavioural change.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: European Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology