Craving activity and losing objectivity: Effects of general action concepts on approach to decision-consistent information

William Hart, Dolores Albarracin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


In light of U.S. society's ever increasing need for activity, the authors used three experiments to examine how general action concepts, activated by subtle priming methods, influence choices to approach information that confirms a recent decision. Findings from Experiments 1 to 3 revealed that viewing action (vs. control) words prior to information selection increased selective approach to supporting information, but viewing inaction (vs. control) words reduced this bias. Experiment 3 also showed that the effect of the action words on this confirmation bias was smaller when participants were allowed to self-affirm by writing about an important personal value. In addition, the experiments found that viewing the action words caused the selection of more total information than viewing the inaction words. The authors conclude that the growing need for activity in the United States may contribute to a loss of objectivity in the way citizens gather information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-62
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012



  • action/inaction
  • attitude
  • goal
  • selective exposure
  • social cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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