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Acta Psychologica Sinica    2014, Vol. 46 Issue (8) : 1176-1191     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.01176
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The Effects of Temporal Distance on Confirmatory Information Processing
LING Bin;WANG Zhongming
(1 Department of Psychology and Behavioral Science, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310028, China) (2 School of Management, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China) (3 Global Entrepreneurship Research Center, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310028, China)
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Abstract  

The present study investigates the influence of temporal distance on confirmatory information processing. Confirmatory information processing principally refers to a tendency of individuals to search and overestimate information that supports with their decision rather than looking for information conflicts (Fischer, Fischer, Englich, Aydin, & Frey, 2011; Fischer, 2011). According to the theoretical viewpoint of Construal Level Theory (CLT, see Trope & Liberman, 2010), temporal distance or perceived temporal proximity exerts an important discount effect on confirmatory information processing under individual and organizational decision making context. It is hypothesized that low temporal distance will increase confirmatory information processing and high temporal distance will decrease it. This discount effect is moderated by construal level mindset and decision’s desirable and feasible representation. We have conducted three studies and our results have found to support our prediction. In Study 1, we have conducted two one-factor between-subjects experiments in which we manipulated temporal distance (near vs. future) and employed a classic selective exposure paradigm to explore the confirmatory information processing. Fifty college students participate in the experiment 1a and sixty college students join in the experiment 1b. The results have shown that participants in a near-temporal decision scenario strengthen their confirmatory information processing, while participants in a future-temporal scenario reduce their confirmatory information processing. Further, we have found that perceived decision certainty plays a partial mediating effect in the process. In study 2, we have conducted a 2×2 between-subjects experiment to investigate the moderating effect of construal level mindset in which we manipulated temporal distance (near vs. future) and construal level mindset (low vs. high). Ninety undergraduate students from a university in Shanghai participate this experiment. The finding have confirmed the temporal discount effect as study 1 did, and also supports a negative impact of construal level mindset on confirmatory information processing. As expected, the moderating effect is testified as well. The negative relationship between temporal distance and confirmatory information processing is stronger when construal level mindset is lower. And the negative relationship between them is weaker when construal level mindset is higher. In study 3, we have explored the moderating effect of decision desirable/feasible representation on the relationship between temporal distance and confirmatory information processing. We conducted a 2×2 between-subjects experiment to verify the hypothesis. Fifty-eight participants take part in this experiment and are randomly assigned into different treatments. Apart from a main effect of decision representation, the results also exhibits its moderating mechanism that the negative relationship between temporal distance and confirmatory information processing is stronger when the decision scenario is represented as high-feasibility/low-desirability, the negative relationship is much weaker when the decision scenario is represented as high-desirability/low-feasibility. The result is shown to support our hypotheses. Our results support the temporal discount effect of confirmatory information processing which shades some light on a new cognitive mechanism for biased information processing. This research brings an insight to the underlying process in mediating role of perceived decision certainty, which responds to the cognitive economy model of confirmatory information processing. Moreover, the abstract and concrete mental representation primed in both mindset and decision context exert a significant boundary mechanism for this temporal discount effect. The negative effects of temporal distance on confirmatory information processing could vary significantly with different level of abstract representation. Finally, our findings also have some practical implications for managing and reducing confirmation biases in the process of information search and evaluation when making a decision.

Keywords confirmatory information processing      temporal distance      construal level theory      psychological distance     
Corresponding Authors: LING Bin;WANG Zhongming   
Issue Date: 25 August 2014
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LING Bin;WANG Zhongming. The Effects of Temporal Distance on Confirmatory Information Processing[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica,2014, 46(8): 1176-1191.
URL:  
http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.01176     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/Y2014/V46/I8/1176
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