Psychological Science 2018, (2) 384-389 DOI:     ISSN: 0412-1961 CN: 21-1139/TG

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cultural differences
general knowledge question
actual situational issues
YE Wan-Min
LIU Ya-*
XU Fu-Meng
Article by Ye,W.M
Article by Liu,Y.*
Article by Xu,F.M

The Cultural Differences in Overconfidence

Wan-Min YE1, 2, 2

1. Central China Normal University


Overconfidence refers to an individual's overestimation of the accuracy of his/her judgment. The cultural differences in overconfidence is an important issue that ensure transnational organizations make effective communication and rational decision-making. The classical paradigm to study this problem is general knowledge question and actual situational issues.The study using general knowledge question consistently found that Eastern subjects were significantly more overconfident than subjects of Western culture . In recent years, researchers have paid more and more attention to whether the results of the study of general knowledge question can be extended to the decision-making of actual situational issues. Actual situational issues is a variant of the general knowledge question. Actual situational issues is closer to the reality and often involves future events which results are unknown to anyone else, such as weather, stocks, or games issues. The study using actual situational issues found that Westerners are more overconfidence than Easterners or no significant difference between them. The explanation of ‘Easterners are more overconfidence than Westerners’ mainly includes cognitive customs and educational systems, which correspond to both micro and macro perspectives. From a micro perspective, a large number of researchers are concerned about the thoroughness of thinking about problems, also known as the argument recruitment model, that is, people in the face of a problem, often in each option to find supporting and opposing evidence, and then assess the comparative advantage of evidence. Choosing the right option and confidence assessment is based on thinking about the quantity?and?quality of arguments. From a macro perspective, the interpretation of the educational system argues that cross-cultural differences in the educational system influence the cross-cultural differences in the adoption of the argument, leading to cross-cultural differences in the level of overconfidence. The Chinese education system encourages students to inherit rather than criticize traditions, especially to encourage memory; and the American education system encourages students to engage in critical thinking and challenge their own views with others. The emphasis on critical thinking in the West makes them find more opposing evidence in making judgments, reducing the tendency to overconfidence, and the Chinese tend to find evidence of their initial judgment and are therefore more overconfidence. However, there is still a lack of explanation about ‘Westerners are more overconfidence than Easterners’ . Finally, the reasons for the different research results are discussed, and the validity of the explanation is further explored. The results of the research on the use of general knowledge question are different from those of actual situational issues, which may be related to task form, task difficulty or sample selection. In recent years, the study using actual situational issues has drawn the result that Westerners are more overconfidence than Easterners or have no significant difference between them. There is still no uniform explanation for these results, which may be related to the collective-individualistic culture, education or the level of economic development. An in-depth discussion of the cultural differences in overconfidence can not only help people in different countries to better understand and grasp the essence of the cultural differences in overconfidence in order to discern irrational decision-making, but also guide people's daily judgments and decision making to avoid decision-making mistakes. Therefore, the study of the cultural differences in overconfidence has important theoretical and practical significance.

Keywords overconfidence   cultural differences   general knowledge question   actual situational issues  
Received 2017-05-06 Revised 2017-09-21 Online: 2018-03-20 
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