Precommitment Bias in the Evaluation of a Single Option
Samuel D. Bond1, Kurt A. Carlson1, Margaret G. Meloy2, J. Edward Russo3, Robin J. Tanner1
1Duke University 2Penn State University 3Cornell University
Drawing from coherence-based accounts of decision processing, we propose that individuals engaged in a singular evaluation task will form an initial assessment of favorability. Consequently, the evaluation of subsequent information will be biased in order to cohere with this initial disposition. Three experiments tested this hypothesis: initial disposition was manipulated (Studies 1 and 3) or measured (Study 2), and attribute ratings were collected as indicators of information distortion. Results indicated that attribute evaluations were biased to favor initial dispositions. These findings suggest that precommitment bias extends to a single-option setting and is driven by the emergence of an evaluative disposition.