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The cost of asking: how evaluations bias subsequent judgments

White, L. C., Pothos, E. M. ORCID: 0000-0003-1919-387X & Jarrett, M. (2020). The cost of asking: how evaluations bias subsequent judgments. Decision, doi:


A novel decision bias, called the evaluation bias (EB), was reported by White et al. (2014). In a sequence of two stimuli of opposite affective valence, evaluating the first stimulus leads to a more contrasting evaluation for the second one, compared to when the first stimulus is just observed. The EB is consistent with a long tradition of constructive influences or decision biases in questionnaire judgments. The prediction of the EB was based on the application of a quantum probability model, taking advantage of the unique role of evaluations in quantum probability. In the present work, we develop the quantum model so as to examine whether similar predictions are possible in the context of real questionnaires, where precise control over the relative valence of stimulus pairs is impossible. It is shown that an EB prediction can be extracted and we test this prediction in an organizational opinion survey, administered to a range of organizations across four experiments (total N = 868 and 84 organizations) and with two different languages. In all experiments, there was clear evidence for an EB. We examine the result with the quantum model and Hogarth and Einhorn’s (1992) belief-adjustment model. Both models can broadly capture the empirical findings and so offer promise for providing a formal understanding of constructive influences.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: ©American Psychological Association, 2020. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at:
Publisher Keywords: cognitive biases; constructive influences; quantum theories; decision making
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Nursing
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