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Department of Cognitive Science

The illusion of control: Structure, measurement and dependence on reinforcement frequency in the context of a laboratory gambling task

Anastasia Ejova (
Paul H. Delfabbro (
Daniel J. Navarro (
School of Psychology, University of Adelaide


We present a new experimental method for studying the illusion of control in a gambling context, along with a new multi-item measure of the degree of perceived control. Responses to the measure were found to reflect a distinction between primary and secondary control - a distinction not recognised by traditional single-item measures. Furthermore, responses to the new measure were, in contrast to ratings on a concurrently administered traditional measure, found to be completely independent of the experienced reinforcement frequency. This finding highlights the purity of the newly-developed measure and calls into question the status of reinforcement frequency as a fundamental determinant of the degree of illusorily perceived control.

Citation details for this article:

Ejova, A., Delfabbro, P., Navarro, D. (2010). The illusion of control: structure, measurement and dependence on reinforcement frequency in the context of a laboratory gambling task. In W. Christensen, E. Schier, and J. Sutton (Eds.), ASCS09: Proceedings of the 9th Conference of the Australasian Society for Cognitive Science (pp. 84-92). Sydney: Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science.

DOI: 10.5096/ASCS200914
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