Motivated reasoning theory suggests that motivation may lead individuals to search out information that supports their beliefs. Therefore, it is reasonable to ask the following questions. If motivation can affect information search behavior, how do individuals search information when they are prone to motivated reasoning? Since individuals are inclined to employ heuristics, what is the difference between motivated and non-motivated individuals when searching information? Furthermore, if motivated reasoning leads to suboptimal decisions, how can we mitigate the bias by manipulating the information search mechanism? This study examines whether motivation to justify a course of action, due to one’s own involvement in the initial selection of the strategy, is exhibited in information search behavior. This present study also investigates how information search bias arising from motivated reasoning can be mitigated by applying dissent in the form of a devil’s advocate (DA) view. In a 2 x 2 between subject design experiment, an eye-tracking device was used to record and measure information search behavior of individuals while evaluating a Balanced Scorecard (BSC) data. Consistent with my expectation of motivated reasoning, I showed that participants who were involved in the initial implementation of BSC were motivated to search for information in a more directive way, compared to those who were not involved in the implementation. The results are also consistent with the prediction of the role of DA in stimulating better cognitive processes, such that, compared to participants in the non-DA group, those in the DA group will access a wider range of information by employing a sequential search. Interestingly, I discovered that subjects who employed a directive were more likely to rate the new strategy as a success than those who employed a sequential search. Furthermore, this result shows how DA can change the behavior of individuals in searching and using information, which can in turn lead to a better decision
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