The Goal of Consistency as a Cause of Information Distortion

J. Edward Russo, Kurt A. Carlson, Margaret G. Meloy, Kevyn Yong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Why, during a decision between new alternatives, do people bias their evaluations of information to support a tentatively preferred option? The authors test the following 3 decision process goals as the potential drivers of such distortion of information: (a) to reduce the effort of evaluating new information, (b) to increase the separation between alternatives, and (c) to achieve consistency between old and new units of information. Two methods, the nonconscious priming of each goal and assessing the ambient activation levels of multiple goals, reveal that the goal of consistency drives information distortion. Results suggest the potential value of combining these methods in studying the dynamics of multiple, simultaneously active goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)456-470
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


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