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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1994 Oct;67(4):596-610.

The truly false consensus effect: an ineradicable and egocentric bias in social perception.

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Department of Psychology, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912.

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  • J Pers Soc Psychol 1995 Apr;68(4):579.


Consensus bias is the overuse of self-related knowledge in estimating the prevalence of attributes in a population. The bias seems statistically appropriate (Dawes, 1989), but according to the egocentrism hypothesis, it merely mimics normative inductive reasoning. In Experiment 1, Ss made population estimates for agreement with each of 40 personality inventory statements. Even Ss who had been educated about the consensus bias, or had received feedback about actual consensus, or both showed the bias. In Experiment 2, Ss attributed bias to another person, but their own consensus estimates were more affected by their own response to the item than by the other person's response. In Experiment 3, there was bias even in the presence of unanimous information from 20 randomly chosen others. In all 3 experiments, Ss continued to show consensus bias despite the availability of other statistical information.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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