The influence of prior knowledge on constructive biases

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Two experimental studies investigated the influence of prior knowledge on constructive judgments. In Study 1, individuals with high expertise (graduate students) and individuals with low expertise (freshmen) were required to answer questions about a target's mania before they were asked to judge the target on several rating scales including mania. Results indicated that merely thinking about the mania questions resulted in stronger constructive biases (i.e., higher mania ratings) in experts as compared to non-experts. This effect occurred even when participants correctly rejected the question content as false. Study 2, in which knowledge structures were varied experimentally, replicated these findings.

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