We document a form of attribution bias wherein people wrongly ascribe sensations of positive or negative surprise to the underlying disutility of a real-effort task. Participants in our experiments learned from experience about two unfamiliar tasks, one more onerous than the other. We manipulated expectations about which task they would face: some participants were assigned their task by chance, while others knew their assignment in advance. Hours later, we elicited willingness to work again on that same task. Participants assigned the less (more) onerous task by chance were more (less) willing to work than those who knew their assignment in advance.
Bushong, Benjamin, and Tristan Gagnon-Bartsch.
"Reference Dependence and Attribution Bias: Evidence from Real-Effort Experiments."
American Economic Journal: Microeconomics,
Design of Experiments: Laboratory, Individual
Micro-Based Behavioral Economics: Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
Personnel Economics: Labor Management