People Claim Objectivity After Knowingly Using Biased Strategies

Katherine Hansen, Margaret Gerbasi, Alexander Todorov, Elliott Kruse, Emily Pronin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


People tend not to recognize bias in their judgments. Such "bias blindness" persists, we show, even when people acknowledge that the judgmental strategies preceding their judgments are biased. In Experiment 1, participants took a test, received failure feedback, and then were led to assess the test's quality via an explicitly biased strategy (focusing on the test's weaknesses), an explicitly objective strategy, or a strategy of their choice. In Experiments 2 and 3, participants rated paintings using an explicitly biased or explicitly objective strategy. Across the three experiments, participants who used a biased strategy rated it as relatively biased, provided biased judgments, and then claimed to be relatively objective. Participants in Experiment 3 also assessed how biased they expected to be by their strategy, prior to using it. These pre-ratings revealed that not only did participants' sense of personal objectivity survive using a biased strategy, it grew stronger.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)691-699
Number of pages9
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


  • bias blind spot
  • bias correction
  • mental contamination
  • objectivity illusion


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