Annals of Health Law
STRATEGY AGAINST SMOKING
People, therefore, tend to be risk-seeking when faced with a small chance of
winning a large amount. 93 This phenomenon is exploited in commercial
lotteries and can be seen as one important factor for their success. It further
suggests that people consider the probabilities of winning to be higher than
their actual chances. 94 With regard to lotteries it appears that people with
low income are even more susceptible to this effect. 95
The overconfidence bias, i.e., the over-assessment of one’s own
capabilities and knowledge – a vast majority deems their skills to be above
average96 – is one of the best proven phenomena in cognitive psychology. 97
At the same time, it constitutes one of the central aspects of behavioral
economics. Overconfidence is closely related to disposedness, to over-
optimism, and to wishful thinking. 98 With regard to the purposes of this
article, the following focuses on one aspect of overconfidence: the illusion
to be able to control a specific situation although there apparently is no
possibility to take influence. 99 In a study conducted by Langer, 100
participants were supposed to state the amount of money for which they
would resell a lottery ticket they had previously bought for one dollar. For
one-half of the participants the tickets were distributed randomly,
participants of the other half had to choose a ticket for themselves. The first
group on average asked for $1.96 for the resale, while the second group
93. Kahneman & Tversky, supra note 88, at 265-68.
94. Cf. id. at 281.
95. Emily Haisley et al., The Impact of Alternative Incentive Schemes on Completion of
Health Risk Assessments, 26 AM. J. HEALTH PROMOTION 184 passim (2012); Mauro F.
Guillén & Adrian E. Tschoegl, Banking on Gambling: Banks and Lottery-Linked Deposit
Accounts, 21 J. FINAN SERVICES RES., 219, 224 (2002).
96. Mark D. Alicke, Global Self-Evaluation as Determined by the Desirability and
Controllability of Trait Adjectives, 49 J. PERSONALITY & SOC. PSYCHOL. 1621 passim (1985);
Ola Svenson, Are we All Less Risky and More Skillful than our Fellow Drivers? 47 ACTA
PSYCHOLOGICA 143 passim (1981).
97. Kent Daniel & Sheridan Titman, Market Efficiency in an Irrational World, 55
FINANCIAL ANALYSTS J. 28, 28-29 (1999); Terrance Odean, Volume, Volatility, Price, and
Profit – When All Traders Are Above Average, 53 J. FIN. 1887, 1892-1893 (1998).
98. Neil D. Weinstein, Unrealistic Optimism About Future Life Events, 39 J.
PERSONALITY & SOC. PSYCHOL. 806 passim (1980); Ziva Kunda, Motivated Inference: Self-Serving Generation and Evaluation of Causal Theories, 53 J. PERSONALITY & SOC. PSYCHOL.
636 passim (1987); Colin F. Camerer & Dan Lovallo, Overconfidence and Excess Entry: An
Experimental Approach, 89 AM. ECON. REV. 306 (1999).
99. See Ellen J. Langer, The Illusion of Control, 32 J. PERSONALITY & SOC. PSYCHOL.
311 passim (1975); Ellen J. Langer & Jane Roth, Heads I Win, Tails It’s Chance: The
Illusion of Control as a Function of the Sequence of Outcomes in a Purely Chance Task, 32
J. PERSONALITY & SOC. PSYCHOL. 951 passim (1975).