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Date: Feb 10, 2020

The dynamics of motivated beliefs

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A key question in the literature on motivated reasoning and self-deception is how motivated beliefs are sustained in the presence of feedback. In a paper forthcoming in the American Economic Review, briq Research Director Florian Zimmermann explores dynamic motivated belief patterns after feedback.

Using a series of experiments with more than 700 participants, he establishes that positive feedback has a persistent effect on beliefs. Negative feedback, instead, influences beliefs in the short run, but this effect fades over time.

Zimmermann investigates the mechanisms of this dynamic pattern, and provides evidence for an asymmetry in the recall of feedback. Finally, he establishes that in line with theoretical accounts, incentives for belief accuracy mitigate the role of motivated reasoning.

Florian Zimmermann is Research Director at briq and Professor for Behavioral Economics at the Department of Economics at the University of Bonn.

Full Paper: The Dynamics of Motivated Beliefs

American Economic Review, 2020, 110 (2), 337-361. DOI: 10.1257/aer.20180728

 

 

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