Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Confirmatory bias in the evaluation of personality descriptions: positive test strategies and output interference

By Martin F. Davies


The operation of confirmatory bias in the endorsement of personality descriptions was examined in 4 studies. Unlike M. F. Davies (1997), who provided only inferential evidence for the role of this bias, the present studies provided direct evidence through the experimental manipulation of supporting versus contradictory cognitions. Generating supporting thoughts resulted in greater acceptance whereas generating contradictory thoughts resulted in lower acceptance of personality descriptions. Supporting cognitions were found to be generated before contradictory cognitions in line with a positive test strategy but evidence was also found for an output interference effect (generating one type of thought interfered with the generation of the opposite type) and it was suggested that confirmatory bias is due to the operation of both mechanisms

Publisher: American Psychological Association
Year: 2003
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (1973). Availability: A heuristic for judging frequency and probability. doi
  2. (1989). Bias in human reasoning: Causes and consequences. doi
  3. (1987). Confirmation, disconfirmation, and information in hypothesis testing. doi
  4. (1992). Context effects in social and psychological research. doi
  5. (1984). Decision and memory: Differential retrievability of consistent and contradictory evidence. doi
  6. (1993). Directional questions direct selfconceptions. doi
  7. (1991). Ease of retrieval as information: Another look at the availability heuristic. doi
  8. (1986). Effects of self-presentation on the phenomenal self. doi
  9. (1984). Goldsmiths Research Online
  10. (1970). Handbook for the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire. Champaign, IL: Institute for Personality and Ability Testing.
  11. (1978). Hypothesis testing processes in social interaction. doi
  12. (1991). Measurement and control of response bias. In doi
  13. (1973). Negative effects of using list items as recall cues. doi
  14. (1997). Positive test strategies and confirmatory retrieval processes in the evaluation of personality feedback. doi
  15. (1980). Reasons for confidence. doi
  16. (1978). Recall as a self-limiting process. doi
  17. (2001). Revision received February 28,
  18. (1981). Self-perception following social interaction. doi
  19. (1983). Situational and transituational determinants of adolescent self-feelings. doi
  20. (1981). Social psychological procedures for cognitive response assessment: The thought-listing technique. In
  21. (1986). Stability and malleability of the self concept. doi
  22. (1949). The fallacy of personal validation: A classroom demonstration of gullibility. doi
  23. (1993). The psychology of judgment and decision making. doi
  24. (1984). The self. In doi
  25. (1999). When recollective experiences matter: Subjective ease of retrieval and stereotyping. doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.