What I Want Versus What Is Right: Does Dispositional Motivation for Objectivity Versus Subjectivity Influence Judgment?

Hawkins, Carlee Beth, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia
Nosek, Brian, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia

Human decision-making is influenced by at least two reasoning motivations – directional goals to achieve desired conclusions, and accuracy goals to achieve correct or objective conclusions (Kunda, 1990). Biased processing toward directional (subjective) goals occurs relatively effortlessly, but situational factors, such as having to justify one's decision, motivate people to overcome bias and pursue more objective decision-making and behavior. In this dissertation, I investigated whether this motivation varies dispositionally across individuals, and whether that variation predicts social and political judgments. In seven studies, the Motivation for Objectivity versus Subjectivity Scale (MOSS) was developed and validated. The factor structure and reliability of the MOSS was confirmed across three samples: undergraduate students (Studies 1, 5, & 6), Project Implicit volunteers (Studies 2-4), and Mechanical Turk workers (Study 7). The MOSS demonstrated convergent and discriminant validity (Studies 1 & 4), predictive validity for political judgment (Study 2) and social judgment and behavior (Studies 5 & 6), and showed, at most, a mild effect of socially desirable responding (Studies 1& 4).

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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