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dc.contributor.authorDavidai, Shai
dc.identifier.otherbibid: 9333210
dc.description.abstractPeople constantly rely on rankings and relative comparisons to make sense of the world. But how accurately do people understand relative rankings? In sixteen studies, I document an upward mobility bias in predictions of ascent and descent in rankings. Although rankings are by definition zero-sum (one entity's rise necessitates another's decline), I find that people believe that a rise in rankings is more likely than a decline. In Studies 1 and 2, I find that people believe that a person born to a family in the bottom income quintile is more likely to rise in the social ladder (i.e., upward social mobility) than a person born to a family in the top income quintile is to drop (i.e., downward social mobility). In Studies 3-8, I show that this bias is not confined to economic social mobility, and that the belief that a rise in ranking is more likely than a decline is observed in various settings, including athletics, academia, and employment. I present evidence that this bias results from people's tendency to give considerable weight to a focal agent's intentions and motivation, but to give less weight to the intentions of competitors and other factors that would thwart the focal agent's improvement. Finally, in Studies 9-13, I demonstrate that the upward mobility bias is exhibited even in non-volitional domains (where intention, motivation, or effort play no role), and propose that, due to a mental association between a ranking's order and the direction of absolute change, people may exhibit the upward mobility bias even in the absence of motivation.
dc.subjectheuristics and biases
dc.subjectsocial mobility
dc.titleThe Upward Mobility Bias: Asymmetric Predictions Of Ascent And Descent In Rankings
dc.typedissertation or thesis University of Philosophy D., Psychology
dc.contributor.chairGilovich,Thomas Dashiff
dc.contributor.committeeMemberPizarro,David A.
dc.contributor.committeeMemberFerguson,Melissa J.
dc.contributor.committeeMemberField,David James

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