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Mojzisch, Andreas; Schulz-Hardt, Stefan; Kerschreiter, Rudolf and Frey, Dieter (2008): Combined Effects of Knowledge About Others' Opinions and Anticipation of Group Discussion on Confirmatory Information Search. In: Small Group Research, Vol. 39, No. 2: pp. 203-223 [PDF, 183kB]


There is conclusive evidence that information search processes are typically biased in favor of the information seeker’s own opinion (confirmation bias). Less is known about how knowledge about others’ opinions affects this confirmatory information search. In the present study, the authors manipulated feedback about others’ opinions and anticipation of group interaction. As predicted, the effect of knowledge about others’ opinions on confirmatory information search depended on whether participants anticipated interacting with these others. Specifically, minority members anticipating a group discussion exhibited a particularly strong confirmation bias, whereas minority members who did not anticipate a discussion predominantly sought information opposing their opinion. For participants not anticipating group interaction, confidence about the correctness of one’s decision mediated the impact of knowledge about others’ opinions on confirmatory information search. Results are discussed with regard to the debiasing effect of preference heterogeneity on confirmatory information search in groups.

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