Confirmatory and diagnosing strategies in social information gathering

Yaacov Trope, Miriam Bassok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 3 experiments, 342 Ss (including 199 undergraduates) were asked to test the hypothesis that another person possesses a certain personality trait by selecting sources of behavioral evidence. The 2 main informational properties on which these sources of evidence varied were (a) the probability of the evidence under the hypothesized trait, from highly probable to highly improbable, and (b) the diagnosticity of the evidence. Results show that diagnosticity was the major determinant of the information-gathering preferences. There was very little evidence for a confirmatory strategy wherein evidence probable under the hypothesized trait was preferred to evidence improbable under this trait. In fact, improbable evidence was preferred when it was more diagnostic than probable evidence. It is concluded that the confirmatory strategy did not reduce the diagnostic power of the information assembled. (29 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-34
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1982


  • diagnosticity of evidence under hypothesized trait, confirmatory vs diagnostic gathering strategies in social perception context, college students &
  • probability &
  • volunteers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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