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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2008 Feb;94(2):231-44. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.94.2.94.2.231.

Selective exposure and information quantity: how different information quantities moderate decision makers' preference for consistent and inconsistent information.

Author information

1
School of Psychology, Social, Economic, and Organizational Psychology Unit, University of Exeter, Exeter, England. P.Fischer@exeter.ac.uk

Abstract

Empirical evidence on selective exposure to information after decisions is contradictory: Whereas many studies have found a preference for information that is consistent with one's prior decision, some have found a preference for inconsistent information. The authors propose that different available information quantities moderate these contradictory findings. Four studies confirmed this expectation. When confronted with 10 pieces of information, decision makers systematically preferred decision-consistent information, whereas when confronted with only 2 pieces of information, they strongly preferred decision-inconsistent information (Study 1). This effect was not due to differences in processing complexity (Study 2) or dissonance processes (Study 3) but could be traced back to different salient selection criteria: When confronted with 2 pieces of information, the salient selection criterion was information direction (consistent vs. inconsistent), which caused a preference for inconsistent information. In contrast, when confronted with more than 2 pieces of information, the salient selection criterion was expected information quality, which caused a preference for consistent information (Study 4).

PMID:
18211174
DOI:
10.1037/0022-3514.94.2.94.2.231
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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