Synthese 189 (S1):29-38 (2012)
AbstractIn the absence of an objective contingency, psychological studies have shown that people nevertheless attribute outcomes to their own actions. Thus, by wrongly inferring control in chance situations people appear to hold false beliefs concerning their agency, and are said to succumb to an illusion of control (IoC). In the current article, we challenge traditional conceptualizations of the illusion by examining the thesis that the IoC reflects rational and adaptive decision making. Firstly, we propose that the IoC is a by-product of a rational uncertain judgment (“the likelihood that I have control over a particular outcome”). We adopt a Bayesian perspective to demonstrate that, given their past experience, people should be prone to ascribing skill to chance outcomes in certain situations where objectively control does not exist. Moreover, existing empirical evidence from the IoC literature is shown to support such an account. Secondly, from a decision-theoretic perspective, in many consequential situations, underestimating the chance of controlling a situation carries more costs than overestimating that chance. Thus, situations will arise in which people will incorrectly assign control to events in which outcomes result from chance, but the attribution is based on rational processes
Similar books and articles
Courage and Self-Control.Xinyan Jiang - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 1:59-64.
Planning, control, and the illusion of explanation.David A. Westwood - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (1):54-55.
Why 'Willusionism' Leads to 'Bad Results': Comments on Baumeister, Crescioni, and Alquist.Eddy Nahmias - 2009 - Neuroethics 4 (1):17-24.
Ethics Programs and The Paradox of Control.Jason Stansbury & Bruce Barry - 2007 - Business Ethics Quarterly 17 (2):239-261.
Decision theory, intelligent planning and counterfactuals.Michael John Shaffer - 2008 - Minds and Machines 19 (1):61-92.
Reason and Coercion: In defence of a Rational Control Account of Freedom.Mark Leon - 2011 - Philosophia 39 (4):733-740.
Outcomes of Internal Conflicts in the Sphere of Akrasia and Self-Control.Alfred R. Mele - 2004 - In Peter Baumann & Monika Betzler (eds.), Practical Conflicts: New Philosophical Essays. Cambridge University Press. pp. 262.
Mental Action and the Threat of Automaticity.Wayne Wu - 2013 - In Andy Clark, Julian Kiverstein & Tillman Vierkant (eds.), Decomposing the Will. Oxford University Press. pp. 244-61.
Self, awareness of self, and the illusion of control.Walter J. Freeman - 1997 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (1):112-113.
Cognitive control in altruism and self-control: A social cognitive neuroscience perspective.Jeremy R. Gray & Todd S. Braver - 2002 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (2):260-260.
Added to PP
Historical graph of downloads
Citations of this work
The Oxford Handbook of Causal Reasoning.Michael Waldmann (ed.) - 2017 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
The Objective Bayesian Probability that an Unknown Positive Real Variable Is Greater Than a Known Is 1/2.Christopher D. Fiorillo & Sunil L. Kim - 2021 - Philosophies 6 (24):24.
References found in this work
The evolution of misbelief.Ryan McKay & Daniel Dennett - 2009 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (6):493.
Probabilistic models of cognition: Conceptual foundations.Nick Chater & Alan Yuille - 2006 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 10 (7):287-291.
Born to choose: The origins and value of the need for control.Lauren A. Leotti, Sheena S. Iyengar & Kevin N. Ochsner - 2010 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 14 (10):457-463.