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Saving cognitive resources when possible: the role of judgment consequences and the judgment tendency of other teachers in teachers’ assessment of students

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The present experimental study explores whether teachers are ‘clever’ thinkers when assessing students’ credibility, i.e., saving cognitive resources when possible and making accurate judgments. Participants were asked to decide whether student statements about using unfair means during a test were true or deceptive. First, participants’ own judgment tendency (a true vs. lie tendency) was manipulated by informing them about the resource-consuming consequences of their judgment, i.e., giving additional explanations for each student statement they judged as being true (vs. a lie). Before actually judging the students’ statements they were informed about the judgment tendency of other teachers about the upcoming student statements (true vs. lie tendency of other teachers). It was assumed that participants ‘cleverly’ choose a resource-saving judgment tendency and show a true (vs. lie) tendency when additional explanations for their lie (vs. true) judgments were required. Moreover, it was assumed that participants’ accuracy rate would be higher if their own judgment tendency opposed the judgment tendency of other teachers. The results indicate that teachers are ‘clever’ thinkers. Practical implications are discussed.

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  1. To avoid any conformity bias (Asch 1956), we informed participants that participants of the short pretest did not have to give additional explanations. We expected that participants would be consistent with their group, and therefore show the same tendency to rate the students’ credibility. Thus, we offered them an opportunity to devaluate their group’s answering tendency by telling them that participants of the short pretest did not have to give additional explanations.

  2. We pretested (\(N=33\) teachers) the effect of the judgment tendency of other teachers (without experimentally varying teachers own judgment tendency) on judgment tendency and found no statistical significant effect, \(p=.516\). Thus, participants did not differ in their judgment tendency after receiving one of the aforementioned information on judgment tendency of other teachers (\(M_{ True\,Tendency\,of\,Othes}=5.20\), \(\textit{SD}_{ True\,Tendency\,of\,Others}=1.37\); \(M_{ Lie\,Tendency\,of\,Others}=4.83\), \(\textit{SD}_{ Lie\,Tendency\,of\,Others}=1.76\)). This indicates that participants’ credibility judgments are not influenced by the judgment tendency of others and, thus, no conformity bias was present.

  3. Four is the total number of actually true statements included in the set of student statements.


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Correspondence to Tamara Marksteiner.

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Marksteiner, T., Ask, K., Reinhard, MA. et al. Saving cognitive resources when possible: the role of judgment consequences and the judgment tendency of other teachers in teachers’ assessment of students. Soc Psychol Educ 18, 735–747 (2015).

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