Do unbiased people act more rationally? - The case of comparative realism and vaccine intention

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


  • Kamil Izydorczak
  • Dariusz Dolinski
  • Oliver Genschow
  • Wojciech Kulesza
  • Pawel Muniak
  • Bruno Gabriel Salvador Casara
  • Caterina Suitner

Within different populations and at various stages of the pandemic, it has been demonstrated that individuals believe they are less likely to become infected than their average peer. This is known as comparative optimism and it has been one of the reproducible effects in social psychology. However, in previous and even the most recent studies, researchers often neglected to consider unbiased individuals and inspect the differences between biased and unbiased individuals. In a mini meta-analysis of six studies (Study 1), we discovered that unbiased individuals have lower vaccine intention than biased ones. In two pre-registered, follow-up studies, we aimed at testing the reproducibility of this phenomenon and its explanations. In Study 2 we replicated the main effect and found no evidence for differences in psychological control between biased and unbiased groups. In Study 3 we also replicated the effect and found that realists hold more centric views on the trade-offs between threats from getting vaccinated and getting ill. We discuss the interpretation and implication of our results in the context of the academic and lay-persons' views on rationality. We also put forward empirical and theoretical arguments for considering unbiased individuals as a separate phenomenon in the domain of self-others comparisons.

ZeitschriftRoyal Society Open Science
Anzahl der Seiten19
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 01.02.2023
Extern publiziertJa

Bibliographische Notiz

Funding Information:
This research was supported by grants: 1. RID(Regionalna Inicjatywa Doskonałości Mazowsza—Regional Excellence Initiative for Masovian District— ): ‘Unrealistic optimism in the age of pandemic. Health research and ensuring safety for the inhabitants of Mazovia district’ granted to D.D. (2020/2). 2. The Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA— ) within the Urgency Grants programme granted to W.K. (number: PPN/GIN/2020/1/00063/U/00001).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors.