Investigating Motivations for Information Avoidance - The Role of Certainty, Rewards and Overconfidence

Last registered on October 24, 2018


Trial Information

General Information

Investigating Motivations for Information Avoidance - The Role of Certainty, Rewards and Overconfidence
Initial registration date
October 20, 2018

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
October 24, 2018, 4:21 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

Norwegian School of Economics

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Norwegian School of Economics

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
This study investigates different motivations for information avoidance. For this purpose, participants take part in an intelligence test in which their results are compared to other participants. All participants are member of the same cohort of a Business School. Participants are asked to guess the share of others who performed the test better than them and are paid based on the accuracy of that guess. They are informed that they can find out the exact share after they made their initial estimate. If they find out their initial guess, they can revise their previous guess, ensuring full payout from the experiment but potentially also finding out unpleasant information about themselves.
We investigate the fraction of participants who actively avoid that information, thereby foregoing earnings from the experiment. We furthermore test for different motivations that these participants could have for that decision.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Ay, Fehime Ceren and Stefan Meißner. 2018. "Investigating Motivations for Information Avoidance - The Role of Certainty, Rewards and Overconfidence." AEA RCT Registry. October 24.
Former Citation
Ay, Fehime Ceren and Stefan Meißner. 2018. "Investigating Motivations for Information Avoidance - The Role of Certainty, Rewards and Overconfidence." AEA RCT Registry. October 24.
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
We investigate two key variables in the experiment. In one treatment, participants are asked to state their willingness to pay to receive the information about the share of participants that did better than them. Here, they can avoid that information by stating a willingness of zero. In the other trial, participants can state their willingness to pay to avoid that information. They will receive a bonus earning of 50 Norwegian Kroner. If they are willing to pay this full amount, they can ensure that they will not find out the information.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
First, participants take an IQ test and they are informed that that test was taken from a longer test. After taking the test they are asked to guess their rank compared to their peers in the session and if their guess is correct they are going to win 80 NOK. After making their guess they are assigned to two treatments randomly: costly information and costly avoidance. In both treatments a Becker-DeGroot-Marschak(BDM) (Becker et al., 1964) auction takes place to implement the participants’ decision. The aim of having a BDM auction is to elicit their real preferences and willingness to pay for that. A bonus payment of 50NOK will be introduced and they are asked to submit how much they would be willing to pay for their decision (getting/avoiding information)to be implemented. The submitted price is compared to a randomly chosen game price in the next stage and if the submitted price is higher participant pays the game price and the decision is implemented. If the auction is lost, participant’s decision is not implemented and bonus payment will be added to final payoff. If the participant gets the information (with or without choosing it)there is a chance to revise the guess. At the end of the game they will receive a payment from their guess (0or80) and the rest of the bonus payment after the BDM results.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization is performed by zTree within sessions.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
400 Individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
400 Individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Each treatment contains 200 individuals
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Board of the Norwegian School of Economics
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents

Pre-Analysis-Plan: Fehime Ceren Ay and Stefan Meissner NHH

MD5: e1b61c944bdcdd88a1687b88ff233148

SHA1: c0920b9f077c3059d4a9d93994335edb84ac2f88

Uploaded At: October 20, 2018


Post Trial Information

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials