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Despite strong evidence of widespread errors, spreadsheet developers rarely subject their spreadsheets to post-development testing to reduce errors. This may be because spreadsheet developers are overconfident in the accuracy of their spreadsheets. This conjecture is plausible because overconfidence is present in a wide variety of human cognitive domains, even among experts. This paper describes two experiments in overconfidence in spreadsheet development. The first is a pilot study to determine the existence of overconfidence. The second tests a manipulation to reduce overconfidence and errors. The manipulation is modestly successful, indicating that overconfidence reduction is a promising avenue to pursue.
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