The reversed description-experience gap: Disentangling sources of presentation format effects in risky choice

Andreas Glöckner, Benjamin E. Hilbig, Felix Henninger, Susann Fiedler

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Previous literature has suggested that risky choice patterns in general—and probability weighting in particular—are strikingly different in experience-based as compared with description-based formats. In 2 reanalyses and 3 new experiments, we investigate differences between experience-based and description-based decisions using a parametric approach based on cumulative prospect theory (CPT). Once controlling for sampling biases, we consistently find a reversal of the typical description–experience gap, that is, a reduced sensitivity to probabilities and increased overweighting of small probabilities in decisions from experience as compared with decisions from descriptions. This finding supports the hypothesis that regression to the mean effects in probability estimation are a crucial source of differences between both presentation formats. Further analyses identified task specific information asymmetry prevalent in gambles involving certainty as a third source of differences. We present a novel conceptualization of multiple independent sources of bias that contribute to the description–experience gap, namely sampling biases and task specific information asymmetry on the one hand, and regression to the mean effects in probability estimation on the other hand. (APA PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)486 - 508
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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