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Sungeun Chung - Colloquia

Friday, September 15, 2017 at 2:30pm

Willard, 158

"Behavioral Consequences of Comparative Risk Judgements: Third-Person Perception & Comparative Optimism"


The relationship between optimistic bias and intention for preventive health behaviors has been intensively investigated but remains unexplained with mixed results. This study critically examined rationale, testing methods, and findings of previous studies on behavioral consequences of optimistic bias. Different approaches have been employed to test the effects of optimistic bias on behavioral intention. We argue that existing approaches have limitations both in terms of rationale and testing methods. In addition, the previous studies did not differentiate conditional optimism (e.g., perceived likelihood of experiencing negative events if no action is taken) from unconditional optimism as future expectancy. Based on critical review on previous studies, it is proposed that (a) behavioral intention is better predicted by conditional optimism for oneself than by comparative optimism (i.e., difference between conditional optimism for oneself and others); (b) intention for preventive behaviors is negatively associated with unconditional optimism; (c) unconditional comparative optimism is greater than conditional comparative optimism; (d) The difference between unconditional comparative optimism and conditional is greater for the group with higher than lower behavior intention. The results of an online survey regarding Middle East Respiratory Syndrome raged in South Korea (N = 557) supported the proposed hypotheses. Theoretical and practical implications of findings were discussed.

Communication Arts and Sciences

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