Elastic Justification: How Unjustifiable Factors Influence Judgments

8 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2006

See all articles by Christopher K. Hsee

Christopher K. Hsee

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business


When making judgments, one may encounter not only justifiable factors, i.e., attributes which the judge thinks that he/she should take into consideration, but also unjustifiable factors, i.e, attributes which the judge wants to take into consideration but knows he/she should not. It is proposed that the influence of an unjustifiable fact on one's judgment depends on the presence of elasticity (ambiguity) in justifiable factors; the influence will be greater if there is elasticity than if there is not. Two studies involving different contexts demonstrated the proposed elasticity effect and suggested that the effect could be a result of a self-oriented justification process. Implications of this research for decisions involving a should-vs-want conflict are dicussed.

Keywords: elastic justification, affect, ambiguity

JEL Classification: D81, D11, D12, D91

Suggested Citation

Hsee, Christopher K., Elastic Justification: How Unjustifiable Factors Influence Judgments. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Vol. 66, No. 1, 1996. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=930101

Christopher K. Hsee (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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