T h e o r i e s U s e d i n I S R e s e a r c h
I l l u s i o n o f C o n t r o l
|Theory Name||Illusion of Control|
|Main dependent construct(s)/factor(s)||Personal Control (Mediator), Judgment, Expectancy of a Personal Success Probability|
|Main independent construct(s)/factor(s)||Choice, Familiarity (with the stimulus or response), Involvement, Competition, Outcome Sequence, Foreknowledge, Framing|
|Concise description of theory||The theory of the illusion of
control (IOC) was first defined by Ellen Langer (1975) as an expectancy of a
personal success probability that exceeds the objective probability of the
outcome. This type of overconfidence is likely when an event that is at
least partially determined by chance is characterized by factors that
normally lead to enhanced outcomes under skill-based situations, such as
choice, stimulus or response familiarity, competition, and passive or active
involvement (Langer, 1975). These skill-related cues thus give rise to
individuals' perceived control over an outcome, which in turn leads to an
unrealistic subjective probability of success. While this effect was
originally demonstrated with predominantly chance-driven events, the
illusion of control can be even more pronounced in situations that have
elements of both skill and chance, since individuals are even more apt to
attribute success in the outcome due to skill factors.
Extensions to this theory have shown that factors other than skill-related cues may create an illusion of control. Outcome sequence (Langer and Roth, 1975), foreknowledge (Presson and Benassi, 1996), and the degree of correspondence between the normative solution and the encouraged solution of the problem frame (Kahai et al., 1998) also increase individuals' perceived control over a task's outcome, resulting in an unrealistic expectation of the probability of success.
While Langer's original theory proposed that either passive or active involvement could lead to an illusion of control, individuals may be even more prone to the illusion of control with an active, collaborative exercise. Thus, user confidence for decisions made with decision aids may be marked by overconfidence when the outcome is partially determined by chance (Kottemann et al., 1994).
|Diagram/schematic of theory|
|Originating author(s)||Ellen Langer|
|Seminal articles||Langer, E. J. "The Illusion
of Control," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (32:2), 1975, pp.
Langer, E. J. and Roth, J. "Heads I Win, Tails It's Chance: The Illusion of Control as a Function of the Sequence of Outcomes in a Purely Chance Task," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (32:6), 1975, pp. 951-955.
Presson, P. K. and Benassi, V. A. "Illusion of Control: A Meta-Analytic Review," Journal of Social Behavior and Personality (11:3): 1996, pp. 493-510.
|Level of analysis||Individual|
|Links to WWW sites describing theory||http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illusion_of_control, Wikipedia entry (general overview of the theory)|
|Links from this theory to other theories||"Just world" hypothesis, self-efficacy theory, self-regulation theory, cognitive biases, judgmental heuristics|
|IS articles that use the theory||Davis, F. D. and Kottemann,
J. E. "User Perceptions of Decision Support Effectiveness: Two Production
Planning Experiments." Decision Sciences (25:1), 1994, pp. 57-78.
Gorgionne, G. A. "An AHP Model of DSS Effectiveness," European Journal of Information Systems (8:2), 1999, pp. 95-106.
Kahai, S. S., Solieri, S. A., and Felo, A. J. "Active Involvement, Familiarity, Framing, and the Illusion of Control During Decision Support System Use," Decision Support Systems (23:2), 1998, pp. 133-148.
Kasper, G. M. "A Theory of Decision Support System Design for User Calibration," Information Systems Research (7:2), 1996, pp. 215-232.
Kottemann, J. E., Davis, F. D., and Remus, W. E. "Computer-Assisted Decision Making: Performance, Beliefs, and the Illusion of Control," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, (57:1), 1994, pp. 26-37.
Rose, J. "Behavioral Decision Aid Research: Decision Aid Use and Effects," in Researching Accounting as an Information Systems Discipline, V. Arnold and S. Sutton (eds.). American Accounting Association, Sarasota, FL, 2000, pp. 111-133.
|Date last updated||March 20, 2006|
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