Biased Evaluation of Abstracts Depending on Topic and Conclusion: Further Evidence of a Confirmation Bias Within Scientific Psychology
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
The present paper investigated whether academic psychologists show a tendency to rate the quality and appropriateness of scientific studies more favorably when results and conclusions are consistent with their own prior beliefs (i.e., confirmation bias). In an online experiment, 711 psychologists completed a questionnaire (e.g., about their belief in astrology) and evaluated research that was presented in form of a short abstract in which 40 different behaviors (e.g., alcohol consumption, willingness to share money) have been tried to be predicted. The research to be evaluated varied on three dimensions which were all manipulated between subjects: (1) the predictors of the 40 behaviors (either Big Five or astrological factors), (2) the methodological quality of the study (low, medium, high), and (3) the results and subsequent conclusion of the study (confirmation or disconfirmation of the hypotheses). Factor-analyzed scores of participants’ ratings on 8 scales, resulting in 2 factors termed quality and appropriateness, served as dependent measures. The main result of the study is a two-way interaction: Psychologists tended to evaluate results qualitatively higher when they conformed to their own prior expectations, as in this case, when astrological hypotheses were disconfirmed.
- Armstrong, J. S. (1996). Publication of research on controversial topics: the early acceptance procedure. International Journal of Forecasting, 12, 299–302. CrossRef
- Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.
- Edwards, W. (1968). Conservatism in human information processing. In B. Kleinmuntz (Ed.), Formal representations of human judgment (pp. 17–52). New York: Wiley.
- Epstein, W. M. (2004). Confirmational response bias and the quality of the editorial processes among American social work journals. Research on Social Work Practice, 14, 450–458. CrossRef
- Goodstein, L. D., & Brazis, K. L. (1970). Psychology of scientist: XXX. Credibility of psychologists: an empirical study. Psychological Reports, 27, 835–838.
- Greenwald, A. G., Pratkanis, A. R., Leippe, M. R., & Baumgardner, M. H. (1986). Under what conditions does theory obstruct research progress? Psychological Review, 93, 216–229. CrossRef
- Hart, W., Albarracín, D., Eagly, A. H., Brechan, I., Lindberg, M. J., & Merrill, L. (2009). Feeling validated versus being correct: a meta-analysis of selective exposure to information. Psychological Bulletin, 135, 555–588. CrossRef
- Horrobin, D. F. (1990). The philosophical basis of peer review and the suppression of innovation. Journal of the American Medical Association, 263, 1438–1441. CrossRef
- Koehler, J. J. (1993). The influence of prior beliefs on scientific judgments of evidence quality. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 56, 28–55. CrossRef
- Krems, J. F., & Zierer, C. (1994). Sind Experten gegen kognitive Täuschungen gefeit? Zur Abhängigkeit des confirmation bias von Fachwissen. [Are experts immune to cognitive bias? The dependence of confirmation bias on specialist knowledge]. Zeitschrift für Experimentelle und Angewandte Psychologie, 41, 98–115.
- Lord, C. G., Ross, L., & Lepper, M. R. (1979). Biased assimilation and attitude polarization: the effects of prior theories on subsequently considered evidence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 2098–2109. CrossRef
- Maccoun, R. J. (1998). Biases in the interpretation and use of research results. Annual Review of Psychology, 49, 259–87. CrossRef
- Mahoney, M. J. (1977). Publication prejudices: an experimental study of confirmatory bias in the peer review system. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 1, 161–175. CrossRef
- Moss, S., & Butler, D. C. (1978). The scientific credibility of ESP. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 46, 1063–1079.
- Nickerson, R. S. (1998). Confirmation bias: a ubiquitous phenomenon in many guises. Review of General Psychology, 2, 175–220. CrossRef
- Oswald, M. E., & Grosjean, S. (2004). Confirmation bias. In R. Pohl (Ed.), Cognitive illusions. A handbook on fallacies and biases in thinking, judgement and memory (pp. 79–96). Hove: Psychology Press.
- Paunonen, S. V., & Ashton, M. C. (2001). Big Five factors and facets and the prediction of behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 524–539. CrossRef
- Ross, L., Lepper, M. R., & Hubbard, M. (1975). Perseverance in self-perception and social perception: biased attributional processes in the debriefing paradigm. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 32, 880–892. CrossRef
- Van Ophuysen, S. (2006). Comparison of diagnostic decisions between novices and experts: the example of school career recommendation. Zeitschrift für Entwicklungspsychologie und pädagogische Psychologie, 38, 154–161. CrossRef
- Biased Evaluation of Abstracts Depending on Topic and Conclusion: Further Evidence of a Confirmation Bias Within Scientific Psychology
Volume 29, Issue 3 , pp 188-209
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer US
- Additional Links
- Confirmation bias