Theory and Decision

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 59–99 | Cite as

Positive confirmation bias in the acquisition of information

  • Martin Jones
  • Robert Sugden

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.

Positive confirmation bias Selection task Information acquisition 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Jones
    • 1
  • Robert Sugden
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Economic and Social StudiesUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK

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