Social perception of forecasters: People see forecasts of future outcomes as cues to forecasters’ desires, attitudes, and identity

O. Stavrova*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

While people’s forecasts of future outcomes are often guided by their preferences (“desirability bias”), it has not been explored yet whether people infer others’ preferences from their forecasts. Across three experiments and overall thirty judgments, forecasters who thought that a particular future outcome was likely (vs. unlikely) were perceived as having a stronger preference for this outcome. Individuals were more likely to infer preferences from forecasts in the presence of cues facilitating internal attributions and in case of outcomes characterized by an actual positive empirical association between desirability and likelihood judgments. Finally, making future forecasts inconsistent (vs. consistent) with one’s stated preferences made observers doubt forecasters’ expressed preferences and identity. Overall, these findings suggest that social observers tend to interpret future forecasts as cues to others’ identity, values and attitudes.
Keywords: forecasts; desirability bias; person perception; social inferences; lay dispositionism
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)802-810
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Volume10
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • ACTOR
  • FUNDAMENTAL ATTRIBUTION ERROR
  • IMPRESSIONS
  • INFERENCES
  • OPTIMISM
  • desirability bias
  • forecasts
  • lay dispositionism
  • person perception
  • social inferences

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