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Ego-relevance and optimistic belief updating
Last registered on February 13, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Ego-relevance and optimistic belief updating
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0005121
Initial registration date
January 22, 2020
Last updated
February 13, 2020 5:47 AM EST
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Technical University Munich
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Technical University Munich
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2020-01-31
End date
2020-06-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Do people process ego-relevant information about themselves in an optimistic manner? We experimentally investigate how people update their beliefs about their relative performance in an IQ-test for different levels of ego-relevance.

We implement the following experimental methodology: First, subjects perform an IQ-related test. Second, we elicit subjects' prior beliefs about their relative performance. Third, we provide subjects with polarizing information about the validity of IQ-tests. Fourth, subjects receive noisy but objective performance feedback. Fifth, we elicit subjects' posterior beliefs about their relative performance. The last two stages are repeated such that subjects receive two binary signals and report their updated beliefs twice.

The experimental design allows us to compare subjects' belief updating process to the normative benchmark of Bayes' rule for different levels of ego-relevance. By exogenously varying the perceived ego-relevance of IQ-tests, the results provide a clean test of the optimistic belief updating hypothesis, because prior beliefs are held constant across treatments. In addition, we elicit subjects' effort in the IQ-test and subjects' perceived validity of the IQ-test for study success and job success. To this end, we examine how subjects engage in ex-post rationalization of negative feedback.

External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Drobner, Christoph and Sebastian Goerg. 2020. "Ego-relevance and optimistic belief updating." AEA RCT Registry. February 13. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5121-2.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We test the optimistic belief updating hypothesis by exogenously varying subjects' ego-relevance of the updating task.
Intervention Start Date
2020-01-31
Intervention End Date
2020-06-30
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Prior beliefs, posterior beliefs, signals, relevance of IQ-test for study success and job success, effort in IQ-test
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Test scores, gender, high school math grade, field of study
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We implement the following experimental methodology: First, subjects perform an IQ-related test. Second, we elicit subjects' prior beliefs about their relative performance. Third, we provide subjects with polarizing information about the validity of IQ-tests. Fourth, subjects receive noisy but objective performance feedback. Fifth, we elicit subjects' posterior beliefs about their relative performance. The last two stages are repeated such that subjects receive two binary signals and report their updated beliefs twice.

The experimental design allows us to compare subjects' belief updating process to the normative benchmark of Bayes' rule for different levels of ego-relevance. By exogenously varying the perceived ego-relevance of IQ-tests, the results provide a clean test of the optimistic belief updating hypothesis, because prior beliefs are held constant across treatments. In addition, we elicit subjects' effort in the IQ-test and subjects' perceived validity of the IQ-test for study success and job success. To this end, we examine how subjects engage in ex-post rationalization of negative feedback.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization by computer
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
420
Sample size: planned number of observations
840
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
210 in treatment High Ego
210 in treatment Low Ego
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
German Association for Experimental Economic Research e.V.
IRB Approval Date
2019-12-12
IRB Approval Number
6NNIYjoa
Analysis Plan

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Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS