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Hope to be right: Biased information seeking following arbitrary and informed predictions

Authors
Journal
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
0022-1031
Publisher
Elsevier
Volume
49
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2012.07.012
Keywords
  • Selective Exposure
  • Confirmation Bias
  • Information Searches
  • Cognitive Dissonance
  • Overconfidence
  • Positive-Test Strategy

Abstract

Abstract Five studies tested when and why individuals engage in confirmatory information searches (selective exposure) following predictions. Participants engaged in selective exposure following their own predictions, even when their predictions were completely arbitrary (Studies 1 and 3). The selective exposure was not simply the result of a cognitive bias tied to the salience of a prediction option (Study 2). Instead, it appears that making a prediction—regardless of how ill-informed a person is while making the prediction—can cause the person to anticipate enjoyment from being right (Studies 4 and 5) and to select new information consistent with that outcome. The results establish a desirability account that can explain post-prediction selective exposure effects even in cases when defense motivations, pre-existing differences, or positive-test strategies can be ruled out as explanations.

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