Trust and the value of overconfidence: a Bayesian perspective on social network communication
- 413 Downloads
The paper presents and defends a Bayesian theory of trust in social networks. In the first part of the paper, we provide justifications for the basic assumptions behind the model, and we give reasons for thinking that the model has plausible consequences for certain kinds of communication. In the second part of the paper we investigate the phenomenon of overconfidence. Many psychological studies have found that people think they are more reliable than they actually are. Using a simulation environment that has been developed in order to make our model computationally tractable we show that in our model inquirers are indeed sometimes better off from an epistemic perspective overestimating the reliability of their own inquiries. We also show, by contrast, that people are rarely better off overestimating the reliability of others. On the basis of these observations we formulate a novel hypothesis about the value of overconfidence.
KeywordsTrust Overconfidence Bayesianism Social network Communication Probability Reliability
We would like to thank two anonymous referees for their input which led to many significant improvements and clarifications.
- Angere, S. (to appear). Knowledge in a social network. Synthese.Google Scholar
- Edman, M. (1973). Adding independent pieces of evidence. In B. Hansson (Ed.), Modality, morality and other problems of sense and nonsense (pp. 180–188). Lund: Gleerup.Google Scholar
- Ekelöf, P.-O. (1983). My thoughts on evidentiary value. In P. Gärdefors, B. Hansson, & N.-E. Sahlin (Eds.), Evidentiary value: Philosophical, judicial and psychological aspects of a theory (pp. 9–26). Lund: Library of Theoria.Google Scholar
- Halldén, S. (1973). Indiciemekanismer. Tidskrift for Rettsvitenskap, 86, 55–64.Google Scholar
- Hansson, B. (1983). Epistemology and evidence. In P. Gärdefors, B. Hansson, & N.-E. Sahlin (Eds.), Evidentiary value: Philosophical, judicial and psychological aspects of a theory (pp. 75–97). Lund: Library of Theoria.Google Scholar
- Kelly, T. (2005). The epistemic significance of disagreement. Oxford Studies in Epistemology, 1, 167–196.Google Scholar
- Lewis, D. (1980). A subjectivist’s guide to objective chance. In R. C. Jeffrey (Ed.), Studies in inductive logic and probability (Vol. 2). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Pearl, J. (1988). Probabilistic reasoning in intelligent systems. Palo Alto, CA: Morgan-Kaufmann.Google Scholar
- Zollman, K. J. (2007). The communication structure of epistemic communities. Philosophy of Science, 74(5), 574–587.Google Scholar