Archive for July 2nd, 2014

July 2, 2014

Illusion of Control

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The illusion of control is the tendency for people to overestimate their ability to control events, for instance to feel that they control outcomes that they demonstrably have no influence over. The effect was named by psychologist Ellen Langer and has been replicated in many different contexts.

It is thought to influence gambling behavior and belief in the paranormal. Along with illusory superiority (overestimating positive abilities and underestimating negative qualities) and optimism bias (unrealistic or comparative optimism), the illusion of control is one of the positive illusions, unrealistically favorable attitudes that people have towards themselves or to people that are close to them. Positive illusions are a form of self-deception or self-enhancement that feel good, maintain self-esteem or stave off discomfort at least in the short term.

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