Document Type


Publication Date

January 1998

Journal or Book Title

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes




Previous studies have revealed surprising and persistent cross-cultural variations in overconfidence, whereby respondents in some Asian cultures (e.g., Chinese) exhibit markedly higher degrees of overconfidence than respondents in other cultures (e.g., the US and Japan). Most of those demonstrations have entailed general knowledge tasks (e.g., answering questions such as whether Europe is larger than Australia). The present studies sought to determine whether such cross-cultural variations extend to judgments about the kinds of events that bear upon more common practical decisions and to aspects of accuracy other than overconfidence. Ss in Taiwan, Japan, and the US made probabilistic differential diagnoses of fictional diseases in a stochastic artificial ecology. Results revealed that previously observed cross-cultural variations do indeed generalize. The data were also informative about several potential accounts for such variations, but consistent with the influences of culture-specific cognitive customs, including responsiveness to explicitly displayed information, regardless of its presumed validity.