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Desire for control and optimistic time predictions


Torleif Halkjelsvik, Department of Psychology, P.O. 1094 Blindern, NO-0317 Oslo, Norway. Tel: +47 22845105; e-mail:


Halkjelsvik, T., Rognaldsen, M. & Teigen, K. H. (2012). Desire for control and optimistic time predictions. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 53, 499–505.

Few studies have investigated individual differences in time predictions. We report two experiments that show an interaction between the personality trait Desirability of Control and reward conditions on predictions of performance time. When motivated to perform a task quickly, participants with a strong desire for control produced more optimistic predictions than those with a weaker desire for control. This effect could also be observed for a completely uncontrollable task. The results are discussed in relation to the finding that power produces more optimistic predictions, and extend this work by ruling out some previously suggested explanations.