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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2003 Sep;29(9):1169-80.

Are comparative risk judgements consistent across time and events?

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611-2250, USA.


Research reveals pervasive optimism in people's comparative risk judgements such that people believe they are less likely than others to experience negative events. Two studies explored the extent to which people are consistent in their comparative risk judgements across time and events. Both studies found strong evidence for consistency across time and some evidence for consistency across events. The consistency across time and events was moderated by experience. Specifically, when viewed together, the studies suggest that experience produces an initial decrease in the consistency of comparative judgements (Study 2), followed by greater consistency in subsequent judgements (Study 1). The discussion focuses on reconciling evidence demonstrating consistency with evidence demonstrating variability.

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