, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 315-330

Illusory Control and Motives for Control: The Role of Connection and Intentionality

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An experiment was done to examine the control heuristic perspective on illusory control and the effects of motives on control judgments, using a computer task similar to the “light onset” task used in previous research. Desire for the outcome and reinforcement were manipulated. As predicted from a control heuristic perspective, the effect of level of reinforcement on judgments of personal control was mediated by the measure of perceived connection: the perception of the number of positive confirming cases. Motives increased illusions of control, but only in the high reinforcement condition. A mediational analysis that examined how motives affect control judgments found that when the motive to get the outcomes was high, participants had higher estimates of having acted intentionally and these estimates partially mediated the relationship between the motivation manipulation and judgments of control. It appears that perceptions of connection mediate the relationship between reinforcement and illusory control, while judgments of intentionality partially mediate the effect of motives for control and illusory control.