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Do maximizers predict better than satisficers?

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We examined the relationship between maximizing (i.e. seeking the best) and satisficing (i.e.seeking the good enough) tendencies and forecasting ability 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, and also completed a measure of maximizing tendencies. We found that although maximizers expected themselves to outperform others much more than satisficers, they actually forecasted more poorly – they tended to be overconfident. The differences in forecasting abilities seem to be driven by the maximizers’ tendency to give more variable probability estimates. In Study 3, participants were set a betting task where they could select between safe and uncertain gambles linked to World Cup outcomes. Again, maximizers did more poorly and earned less because of a higher variance in their responses. This research contributes to the growing literature on maximizing tendencies by expanding the range of objective outcomes over which maximizing has an influence, and further showing that there may be substantial upside to being a satisficer.

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