Positive confirmation bias in the acquisition of information

Martin Jones, Robert Sugden

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    53 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    An experiment is reported which tests for positive confirmation bias in a setting in which individuals choose what information to buy, prior to making a decision. The design – an adaptation of Wason’s selection task – reveals the use that subjects make of information after buying it. Strong evidence of positive confirmation bias, in both information acquisition and information use, is found; and this bias is found to be robust to experience. It is suggested that the bias results from a pattern of reasoning which, although producing sub-optimal decisions, is internally coherent and which is self-reinforcing.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)59
    Number of pages99
    JournalTheory and Decision
    Volume50
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2001

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    Keywords

    • Positive confirmation bias
    • Selection task
    • Information acquisition

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