Personality and social psychology bulletin vol:18 issue:3 pages:331-335
This study examined a condition under which the effect of stimulus familiarity on the illusion of control is suppressed. According to Langer, stimulus familiarity induces a skill orientation even in a chance situation. However, this effect is postulated to obtain only as long as the person's focus of attention remains on the stimulus familiarity. When the focus of attention turns toward the chance elements in the situation, the illusion of control should disappear. Subjects participated in a wagering session with an experimenter by picking a card out of a shuffled pack. The cards either were normal looking (familiar cards) or had a striking "Egyptian" look (unfamiliar cards). As predicted, people wagered more money when playing with the familiar cards unless they had to evaluate their probability of winning before placing their bet.