Overconfidence across the psychosis continuum: a calibration approach

Ryan P. Balzan*, Todd S. Woodward, Paul Delfabbro, Steffen Moritz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: An ‘overconfidence in errors’ bias has been consistently observed in people with schizophrenia relative to healthy controls, however, the bias is seldom found to be associated with delusional ideation. Using a more precise confidence-accuracy calibration measure of overconfidence, the present study aimed to explore whether the overconfidence bias is greater in people with higher delusional ideation. Methods: A sample of 25 participants with schizophrenia and 50 non-clinical controls (25 high- and 25 low-delusion-prone) completed 30 difficult trivia questions (accuracy <75%); 15 ‘half-scale’ items required participants to indicate their level of confidence for accuracy, and the remaining ‘confidence-range’ items asked participants to provide lower/upper bounds in which they were 80% confident the true answer lay within. Results: There was a trend towards higher overconfidence for half-scale items in the schizophrenia and high-delusion-prone groups, which reached statistical significance for confidence-range items. However, accuracy was particularly low in the two delusional groups and a significant negative correlation between clinical delusional scores and overconfidence was observed for half-scale items within the schizophrenia group. Evidence in support of an association between overconfidence and delusional ideation was therefore mixed. Conclusions: Inflated confidence-accuracy miscalibration for the two delusional groups may be better explained by their greater unawareness of their underperformance, rather than representing genuinely inflated overconfidence in errors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-524
Number of pages15
JournalCognitive Neuropsychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • overconfidence
  • delusions
  • delusion-proneness
  • schizophrenia
  • psychosis continuum


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