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Vision and Flexibility in a Model of Cognitive Dissonance

Abstract

This paper explores the consequences of cognitive dissonance, coupled with time-inconsistent preferences, in an intertemporal decision problem with two distinct goals: acting decisively on early information (vision) and adjusting flexibly to late information (flexibility). The decision maker considered here is capable of manipulating information to serve her self-interests, but a tradeoff between distorted beliefs and distorted actions constrains the extent of information manipulation. Building on this tradeoff, the present model provides a unified framework to account for the conformity bias (excessive reliance on precedents) and the confirmatory bias (excessive attachment to initial perceptions).

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