Paul Windschitl

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Paul Windschitl CV

Research Interests

Optimistic and pessimistic biases
Perceived likelihood/vulnerability/risk
Decision making under uncertainty
Health/medical decision making
Social comparison 
Comparative judgment processes

Primary Research Area

Judgment and Decision Making, Cognition, Social Psychology

Training Areas


Research Group

Social Psychology

Representative Publications

More on Google Scholar or at the Judgment, Decision, and Social Comparison Lab website

Stuart, J. O., Windschitl, P. D., Bossard, E., Bruchmann, K., Smith, A. R., Rose, J. P., & Suls, J. (in press). Which measures of perceived vulnerability predict protective intentions—and when? Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

Park, I., Windschitl, P. D., Miller, J. E., Smith, A. R., Stuart, J. O., Biangmano, M. (2023). People express more bias in their predictions than in their likelihood judgments.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 152, 45-59.

Windschitl, P. D., Miller, J. E., Park, I., Rule, S., Clary, A., & Smith, A. R. (2022) The desirability bias in predictions under aleatory and epistemic uncertainty.  Cognition,  229, 105254.

Stuart, J. O. R., Windschitl, P. D., Miller, J. E., Smith, A. R., Zikmund‐Fisher, B. J., & Scherer, L. D. (2022). Attributions for ambiguity in a treatment‐decision context can create ambiguity aversion or seeking. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 35(1), e2249.

Miller, J. E., Park, I., Smith, A. R., & Windschitl, P. D. (2021). Do people prescribe optimism, overoptimism, or neither? Psychological Science, 32(10), 1605–1616.

Smith, A, R., Windschitl, P. D., Rose, J. P. (2020) An integrated approach to biases in referent-specific judgments.  Thinking and Reasoning, 26, 581-614.

Miller, J. E., Windschitl, P. D., Treat, T. A., & Scherer, A. M. (2019). Unhealthy and unaware? Misjudging social comparative standing for health-relevant behavior. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 85, Article 103873.

Gold, J. M., Stuart, J. O., Thiem, K. C., Field, R. W., Fernandez-Baca, J., and Windschitl, P. D. (2018).  The unintended impact of smoking-risk information on concerns about radon: A randomized controlled trial.  Health Psychology, 37, 1123-1133.

Stuart, J. O., Windschitl, P. D., Smith, A. R., & Scherer, A. M. (2017). Behaving optimistically: How the (un)desirability of an outcome can bias people's preparations for it.  Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 30, 54-69. 

Windschitl, P. D., & Stuart, J. O. (2015).  Optimism Biases: Type and Causes.  In Gideon Keren & George Wu (Eds.) Handbook of Judgment and Decision Making.  Blackwell Publishing. 

Scherer, A. M., Windschitl, P. D., & Smith A., R. (2013).  Hope to be right: Biased information seeking following arbitrary and informed predictions.  Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49, 106–112.  

Research areas
  • Health
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Social Cognition
Paul Windschitl
PH.D., Iowa State University, 1996
Contact Information

272 Psychological and Brain Sciences Building (PBSB)
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States


207 Spence Labs (SLP)
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States

Phone Number