University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Cambridge Experimental and Behavioural Research Group (CEBEG) > SKILL VERSUS LUCK: WHEN ARE PEOPLE MORE LIKELY TO MISTAKE GOOD LUCK

SKILL VERSUS LUCK: WHEN ARE PEOPLE MORE LIKELY TO MISTAKE GOOD LUCK

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Learning from high levels of performances entails important aspects of human development. This paper investigates how people’s imagining of alternatives to reality influences their causal evaluations of high performances. High performance is more likely to interfere with causal judgment due to the mental simulation heuristic when a high performance (1) does not have cues disconfirming prior expectation; (2) could have been a failure but does not entail a propensity toward alternative outcomes; or (3) is framed as a result of human intervention. Three types of high performance with characteristics that conform to these three conditions are then introduced. People are more likely to mistake good luck for superior skill when evaluating high performance in these three ways. This paper concludes by discussing the desirable and undesirable behavioral consequences from such misjudgments and by suggesting some solutions to the problems which may ensue.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Experimental and Behavioural Research Group (CEBEG) series.

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