To Follow Expert Advice When Making a Decision: An Examination of Reactive Versus Reflective Autonomy

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Abstract

The present study examined whether reactive and reflective autonomy moderated individuals’ responses to expert influence. Participants were given the opportunity to win money at a racetrack betting task for which they were provided with objective information about horses’ previous performances along with specific expert recommendations. The experts were made to look either credible or noncredible by manipulating information on the success rate of their previous predictions. The results showed that the two forms of autonomy led to exactly opposite behaviors in response to the advice of credible experts. Reflective autonomy was significantly positively associated with following the recommendations of credible experts whereas reactive autonomy was significantly negatively associated with following the recommendations. The results also showed that it was particularly after losing their first race that reactive autonomy was related to rejecting the advice of experts. These findings indicate that reactive and reflective forms of autonomy may yield opposite patterns of behavior in certain situations.

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