The False Consensus Effect: Deconstruction and Reconstruction of an Anomaly

D Engelmann, M Strobel

Research output: Working paper

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We present a striking example of the deconstruction and reconstruction or an anomaly. In line with previous experiments we show in a one-shot setting that the allegedly robust false consensus effect disappears if representative information is readily available. But the effect reappears if a small cognitive effort is required to retrieve the information. Most subjects apparently ignore valuable information if it is not handed to them on a silver platter. We conclude that the relevance of the false consensus effect depends on the difficulty of the information retrieval and that the underlying mechanisms is an information processing deficiency rather than egocentricity. Moreover, we discuss the potential relevance of our findings for other well-known effects like the winner's curse and overconfidence.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEgham
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2004


  • False Consensus
  • Information Processing
  • Anomalies
  • Experimental Economics

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