The impact of perceived experience on likelihood judgments for self and others: an experimental approach



This study examines the effect of an experimental manipulation of perceived experience on self and others' likelihood ratings for a set of relatively commonplace misfortunes. Participants were randomly assigned to a condition in which they were asked whether they had ever experienced the events (designed to induce higher perceived experience) or whether they had done so frequently, typically, etc. (designed to induce lower perceived experience). The manipulation led to increases in ratings of both perceived self-likelihood and others' likelihood, in ease of imagining the outcome and recall of a past occurrence, and to decreases in perceived control over the events in the higher perceived experience condition. The increases in ease of imagining mediated the impact of manipulated experience on comparative likelihood whereas the decreases in perceived control did not. There was little evidence that event controllability moderated the impact of experience on comparative likelihood for these events. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.