Friday, March 18, 2011

INSEAD Working Paper 2011/29/DS

We examine the relationship between Machiavellianism and overconfidence. Participants were invited to take part in a real-world prediction task: forecasting the outcomes of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In Studies 1 and 2, participants gave probabilistic forecasts for the outcomes of the tournament, completed a measure of Machiavellianism, and also estimated their relative performance. We found that Machiavellians expected themselves to outperform others to a greater extent than non-Machiavellians. However, they actually performed worse. In Study 3, participants played a betting task. Again, we found that Machiavellians tended to earn less. Further, across all three studies, Machiavellians tended to use probabilities that deviated more extremely from the base-rates. Hence, by all measures, they were more overconfident. This research contributes to the link of one of the constituents of the “dark triad” with overconfidence.