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The role of issue importance in biased biases regarding the origins of preferences
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2008 (English)In: Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Albuquerque, 2008, 2008Conference paper (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Abstract [en]

Important issues seem to elicit attributional biases regarding origins of attitudes, such that people holding the same attitude as oneself (ingroup) is seen as more rational and less externally influenced than people holding an opposing attitude (outgroup) (Kenworthy & Miller, 2002). The current research examines the role of issue importance for such biases in three studies. In Study 1, students read about pros and cons of prohibiting religious symbols in Swedish schools. They stated their preferred alternative, issue importance, and rated origins of preferences for the ingroup and outgroup. Issue importance was related to biases. This relation was tested in two follow-up studies where high school students read about a hypothetical decision situation where their school was to decide whether to prohibit religious symbols or not. In both studies, participants stated preferred decision alternative and issue importance. Decision outcome was manipulated to concord or discord with participants’ preferences. In Study 2, decision-making form varied so the decision was made by the student council, school authorities or by voting. In Study 3, the student council of participants’ own and an adjacent school were going to make the decision together. School size and composition principle of the student council varied. Results showed that biases varied with target group and issue importance in both studies. In Study 2, biases also varied with decision-making form and outcome, although this was not replicated in Study 3. Importance seems to be decisive for biases, and decision-making form and outcome may under some circumstances influence biases.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
groups, biased attribution, decision making form
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-14769OAI: diva2:181289
Available from: 2008-10-30 Created: 2008-10-30Bibliographically approved

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Bäck, EmmaLindholm, Torun
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