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The effect of dynamic proximity cues on counterfactual plausibility

Covey, Judith and Zhang, Qiyuan 2014. The effect of dynamic proximity cues on counterfactual plausibility. Judgment and Decision Making 9 (6) , pp. 586-592.

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Previous research has found that people consult closeness or proximity cues when they evaluate the plausibility or likelihood of a counterfactual alternative to reality. In this paper we asked whether the plausibility of counterfactuals extends to dynamic proximity cues that signal a sense of propensity or acceleration in the lead-up to an outcome. Subjects gambled on obtaining either three heads or three tails from three coin-flips. When they lost the gamble they thought it was more likely that they could have won if they had lost on the third coin-flip that was revealed rather than the first or second coin-flip. We discuss how the sense of propensity was raised prior to the revelation of the final decisive losing coin-flip which created a perception of psychological momentum towards winning. Moreover, the consequence of this propensity effect was to positively bias perceptions of the likelihood of the counterfactual winning outcome.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Society for Judgment and Decision Making
ISSN: 1930-2975
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 6 May 2021
Last Modified: 06 May 2021 15:30

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