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Illusion of Control

Definition

The illusion of control (also known as illusory control) refers to the tendency for people to exaggerate their ability to produce a desired outcome. Even when it comes to controlling random events, people believe they have control.

Factors That Influence Illusory Control

Traditionally, people assumed accurate self-knowledge was crucial for survival and health. In this formulation, people possessed the ability to correctly judge control over their environments; accurate knowledge of when one's actions produced particular outcomes—and when they did not—was thought to be critical for functioning effectively in the world. In a broad sense, this is true. For example, mentally healthy people know they cannot control whether the sun rises and sets each day. At the same time, though, a feeling of being in control is vital ...

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