Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Lisa L. Scherer

Second Advisor

James Thomas

Third Advisor

Lisa Kelly-Vance


Studies on confidence judgments have generally shown that people are overconfident about their abilities or knowledge, and their confidence judgments are not well calibrated. The purpose of this study was to contribute toward a more precise and defensible version of how motivational factors interact with cognitive biases to influence confidence judgments. Review of the effect of choice on confidence judgments suggests an avenue to study the joint effect of motivational factors and cognitive biases on confidence judgments. In particular, the study investigated how motivational factors such as ego-involvement interact with cognitive biases involved in making choices to increase overconfidence in general knowledge questions. In the present study, the degree of egoinvolvement was manipulated through information provided about the nature of the task. Participants either assessed confidence judgments on their chosen alternatives (choice condition) or assessed confidence judgments on the precircled alternatives (arbitrary cue condition). Results indicated that arbitrary cue participants were more overconfident than choice participants. The influence of ego-involvement, however, was undetectable. Egoinvolvement was found to moderate the effect of choice on confidence judgments, however, in the opposite direction of the prediction. In the high ego-involvement condition, arbitrary cue participants exhibited higher overconfidence than choice participants. There was no significant difference between arbitrary cue participants and choice participants in the low ego-involvement condition. Implications of the findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Psychology And the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha.

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