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Mad Enough to See the Other Side: Anger and the Confirmation Bias

Posted: 19 Oct 2009 Last revised: 14 Dec 2009

Maia J. Young

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management

Larisse Tiedens

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Heajung Jung

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Tsai Ming-Hong

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: October 13, 2009

Abstract

The current research explores the effect of anger on hypothesis confirmation — the propensity to seek information that confirms rather than disconfirms one’s opinion. We argue that the moving against action tendency associated with anger leads angry individuals to seek out disconfirming evidence, attenuating the confirmation bias. We test this hypothesis in two studies of experimentally-primed anger and sadness on the selective exposure to hypothesis confirming and disconfirming information. In Study 1, participants in the angry condition were more likely to choose disconfirming information than those in the sad or neutral condition when given the opportunity to read about a controversial social issue. Study 2 measured participants’ opinions and information selection about the 2008 Presidential Election and the desire to ‘move against’ a person or object. Participants in the angry condition reported a greater tendency to oppose a person or object, and this tendency led them to select more disconfirming information.

Suggested Citation

Young, Maia J. and Tiedens, Larisse and Jung, Heajung and Ming-Hong, Tsai, Mad Enough to See the Other Side: Anger and the Confirmation Bias (October 13, 2009). 22nd Annual IACM Conference Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1488605

Maia Young (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/x5157.xml

Larisse Tiedens

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Heajung Jung

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

Tsai Ming-Hong

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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