The path or the goal? Decision vs. information focus in biased information seeking after preliminary decisions

Eva Jonas, Eva Traut-Mattausch, Dieter Frey, Jeff Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Research on the phenomenon of selective exposure to information demonstrates that after preliminary or final decisions, people show a preference for supporting rather than conflicting information (confirmation bias). In this article, we examine conditions that increase or decrease distortions in the search for information. We report on four experiments indicating that the confirmation bias is influenced by whether people focus on their decision or on the presented pieces of information during the information search. Focusing on the decision, for example, because a reward for a correct decision is promised or simply because participants repeatedly think of it, increases the confirmation bias. On the other hand, if participants focus on the available pieces of information because they have to invest money in order to search for information or because they have to evaluate the individual pieces of information, the confirmation bias decreases. Implications for theoretical understanding and interventions for decision-making situations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1180-1186
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume44
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2008

Keywords

  • Commitment
  • Costs
  • Decision vs. information focus
  • Dissonance theory
  • Incentives
  • Salience
  • Selective exposure to information after decisions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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