Date of Original Version

1-2005

Type

Working Paper

Rights Management

All Rights Reserved

Abstract or Description

Recent research has shown that when people compare one thing to another, they tend to focus myopically on the target of the comparative judgment and do not sufficiently consider the referent to which the target is being compared. This paper applies this recent theoretical progress to the problem of predicting the outcomes of athletic competitions. In three studies, we show that the focal competitor’s strengths and weaknesses feature more prominently than do the strengths and weaknesses of the opponents. People are more confident of success when their own side is strong, regardless of how strong the competition is. Implications for theories of strategic decision making in competitive settings are discussed