Advice Taking in Decision Making: Egocentric Discounting and Reputation Formation

Ilan Yaniv & Eli Kleinberger

Our framework for understanding advice-taking in decision making rests on two theoretical concepts that motivate the studies and serve to explain the findings. The first is egocentric discounting of others' opinion and the second is reputation formation for advisors. We review the evidence for these concepts, trace their theoretical origins, and point out some of their implications. In three studies we measured decision makers' "weighting policy" for the advice, and in a fourth study, their "willingness to pay" for it. Briefly, we found that advice is discounted relative to own opinion, and reputation for advisors is rapidly formed and asymmetrically revised. The asymmetry implies that it may be easier for advisors to lose a good reputation than to gain it. The cognitive and social origins of these phenomena are considered.

February, 2000
Published in: 
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 83 (2000), 260-281