As a behavioral scientist, I often write about biases in decision making, where people place too much / too little weight on a specific property of the options (relative to other factors or a certain benchmark; where that one comes from should be immaterial for the question).
However, I am chronically unsure what verb best describes this. My go-to is overweigh, as in
Subjects overweigh factor x.
or in passive voice,
Factor X is overweighed.
Behavior again is in line with overweighing of X.
The opposite would then be to underweigh.
However, my brain sometimes wants to insert a t, as in overweighting. Then, when I think about it, the t seems wrong, and only associated with being overweight. But my spell checkers actually complain about both forms. In consequence, I am never sure what is correct - and want to change that by asking here.
Thus: is overweigh the correct verb in this context? Should it be hyphenated as over-weigh, which is the only form most of my spell checkers seem to accept (I realize that is not gospel, but perhaps they are right)?
Or are there other verbs that fit well?
Edit: I think @fev is right and "to overweight" is the correct alternative. However, to understand where my uncertainty might have come from, I did some googling, and came to the conclusion that at least I am not the only one who finds this difficult... here's a few examples of the verb overweigh being used in that meaning:
- "Don’t overweigh anecdotal evidence, Yang advises." Smithsonian Magazine
- "Another reason why decision-making is hard, Milkman says, is the propensity to overweigh the instant gratification or the instant pain of a decision over the long-term consequences." Vox
- "People overweigh small and underweigh large risks, " example of a scientific publication
- And that's actually very common, especially in publications where the authors are (likely) non-native speakers like me: example google search with many hits
And once I started searching, I actually found many examples were both are used in the same text, e.g.
- "they overweigh the probability of unlikely outcomes", "overweighting chances in the domain of losses", "They found that children underweighted low-probability events and overweighed high-probability ones" (same sentence!) https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0052316
- "they tend to overweight small probabilities to guard against losses", "People tend to overweigh options that are certain" https://www.nngroup.com/articles/prospect-theory/
- "(i.e., overweighting of rare events)", "that people overweigh or overreact to rare consequential outcomes", "would represent the overweighting or overreaction to the actual risks" https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02140/full
So, I am in good company, and also, it may be no surprise that I used to be confused which was the correct verb, since I probably kept coming across both in the literature.