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Uniwersytet SWPS - Logo

How confidence and action control impact decision making and goal attainment

The art of making good choices and being consistent in executing them is essential for having a successful and fulfilling life. Researchers from SWPS University’s Institute of Psychology, Maksymilian Bielecki, Ph.D. /Assistant Professor and Professor Magdalena Marszał-Wiśniewska examined how individual differences in action control influence wellbeing.

#decision making #metacognition #action control #individual differences

What we researched:

  • The underlying cognitive differences between action-oriented and state-oriented individuals (i.e. those who struggle to commit to their choices and end up second-guessing themselves) in performing simple binary-choice decision tasks.

How we did it:

  • The researchers studied action-oriented and state-oriented individuals, who performed tasks requiring quick decision making, for example assessing the size of objects appearing on a screen or judging attractive.
  • They found out that a positive confidence bias, coupled with appropriate metacognitive sensitivity, might be crucial for the successful realization of intentions in many real-life situations. More generally, the study provided an example of how modelling latent cognitive processes can bring meaningful insight into the study of individual differences.

Why is it important:

  • Because the results showed that confidence might be a crucial individual trait, which impacts not only decision making, but also goal attainment.

"All else being equal, the confidence gap [ed. between action-oriented and state-oriented individuals] might be the reason why some people succeed where others cannot."