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A sound basis for overconfidence?

Overconfidence is a major puzzle in evolutionary biology, economics and political science, because despite causing costly errors and policy failures, it remains a widespread bias in human judgement and decision-making. Animals too, in examples seen during conflict behaviour, are liable to overconfidence. Dominic Johnson and James Fowler use game theory to model the situations under which overconfidence is an advantage, and find that they occupy a large part of the parameter space. They also show that overconfidence and conflict tend to increase with greater resource availability. As long as the prize at stake sufficiently exceeds the cost of competing for it, it seems, fortune favours the brave.

Nature Volume 477 Issue 7364

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