Rank extrapolation: Asymmetric forecasts of future rank after rank change

Nathan C. Pettit, Sarah P. Doyle, Hee Young Kim, Anat Hurwitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How do people forecast an actor's future rank after observing a rank change and what are the factors that shape these forecasts? In this research, we shed new light on the attributions that people make when they observe an actor change rank and on how these attributions explain where people expect the actor to rank in the future. Specifically, in Studies 1a and 1b we document an asymmetric extrapolation bias, whereby people extrapolate upward rank trajectories more steeply into the future than downward trajectories – a pattern of results that differ in both magnitude and direction from actual rank change patterns over time. In Studies 2 and 3 we provide evidence of the different attributions that explain people's asymmetric extrapolation through measurement and manipulation. Finally, in Study 4 we demonstrate a practical downstream consequence of this asymmetric extrapolation bias (i.e., promotion recommendation) (Study 4). Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104129
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
StatePublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Causal models
  • Hierarchy
  • Momentum
  • Rank
  • Rank extrapolation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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