Andreas Mojzisch, Stefan Schulz-Hardt, Rudolf Kerschreiter, Felix C Brodbeck, and Dieter Frey (2008)

Social validation in group decision-making: Differential effects on the decisional impact of preference-consistent and preference-inconsistent information

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44(6):1477-1490.

Investigated differential effects of social validation on the decisional impact of preference-consistent and preference-inconsistent information in group decision-making. While shared information is often considered to have a stronger impact on group decisions than unshared information due to social validation of the former, it was hypothesized that this explanation would only apply to information which contradicted group members' initial preferences (i.e., preference-inconsistent). In 2 experiments, a total of 394 college students (290 female, mean age 22.53 years) studied fictitious group discussion protocols regarding the suitability of potential candidates for a job. Information provided in the protocols was manipulated to be preference-consistent or preference-inconsistent. Participants rated the suitability of candidates prior to and after reading group discussion protocols. As predicted, social validation only increased the decisional impact of preference-inconsistent information. In a sample of 80 male college students (mean age 25.84 years), Experiment 3 replicated these results in an interactive, face-to-face group-discussion setting. Finally, implications and limitations of the findings are discussed.

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