Arguing for the Opposition: A Position Commitment Shock to Overcome Confirmation Bias

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Confirmation bias is a common cognitive error that emerges when people seek and use information that supports existing beliefs rather than more critically assessing evidence and potentially changing that belief. It often arises when considering controversial topics. Management classes in organizational behavior, ethics, international business, and strategy often cover issues that can be polarizing for students and stimulate a confirmation bias response. One approach to helping students remedy this problem is through debiasing interventions or helping people into slower, more deliberate reasoning. The debiasing technique described here has organizational behavior students commit to a position on a controversial issue in discrimination, then surprises them by having them write a paper from the opposite perspective. It also requires a critique of the argument they built and then reflection on what could prompt them to make a similar cognitive effort in other topics. Supplemental materials for the students include discussions on identifying good sources and assumptions about merit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalManagement Teaching Review
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Education

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