The log in my eye : awareness, acceptance, and correction of partisan political bias
People are often unaware of or under-estimate their own cognitive biases, suggesting that political bias -- measured by the influence of irrelevant political information on otherwise non-political judgments -- may be difficult to change. However, when it comes to political bias, peoples' expectation of bias (i.e., lay theories), have rarely been directly measured, despite their purported importance for judgment debiasing (Wegener & Petty, 1995). Furthermore, extant research has never directly asked people how acceptable they believe it is to make a judgment influenced by irrelevant political information. Study 1 asked participants to make a series of judgments, some more subjective (evaluating quotes) and others more objective (assessing guilt of defendant on trial). Some participants were presented with noninfluential irrelevant political information (control), while others were presented with influential irrelevant political information (e.g., Trump or Obama) for the judgments they were making. Some participants who were exposed to influential irrelevant political information were explicitly asked to not allow their judgments to be influenced by the information they were exposed to. As expected by the Flexible Correction Model (FCM), participant's lay theories (but not judgments of acceptability) guided their (mostly) successful attempt to correct for the influence of irrelevant political information, though only when evaluating quotes. When judging the guilt of a defendant on trial, participants asked to correct their judgments did so, with only an indirect influence from lay theories and judgments of acceptability. Secondary measures indicated correction instructions did not temper the desire to seek out irrelevant political information on subsequent judgments. People possess self- awareness into their own capacity to make biased judgments and often choose not to correct their judgments, despite having the ability to do so. Studies 2a and 2b replicated primary findings using online samples.
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