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Sometimes it does hurt to ask: The constructive role of articulating impressions

White, L. C., Pothos, E. M. & Busemeyer, J. R. (2014). Sometimes it does hurt to ask: The constructive role of articulating impressions. Cognition, 133(1), pp. 48-64. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2014.05.015


Decisions can sometimes have a constructive role, so that the act of, for example, choosing one option over another creates a preference for that option (e.g., Ariely and Norton, 2008, Payne et al., 1993, Sharot et al., 2010 and Sherman, 1980). In this work we explore the constructive role of just articulating an impression, for a presented visual stimulus, as opposed to making a choice (specifically, the judgments we employ are affective evaluations). Using quantum probability theory, we outline a cognitive model formalizing such a constructive process. We predict a simple interaction, in relation to how a second image is evaluated, following the presentation of a first image, depending on whether there is a rating for the first image or not. The interaction predicted by the quantum model was confirmed across three experiments and a variety of control manipulations. The advantages of using quantum probability theory to model the present results, compared with existing models of sequence order effects in judgment (e.g., Hogarth & Einhorn, 1992) or other theories of constructive processes when a choice is made (e.g., Festinger, 1957 and Sharot et al., 2010) are discussed.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Cognition. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Cognition, Volume 133, Issue 1, October 2014, Pages 48–64,
Publisher Keywords: Quantum probability, Interference effects, Affective uncertainty, Judgement and decision-making
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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