The Truth and Bias Model of Judgment

Tessa V. West, David A. Kenny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a new model for the general study of how the truth and biases affect human judgment. In the truth and bias model, judgments about the world are pulled by 2 primary forces, the truth force and the bias force, and these 2 forces are interrelated. The truth and bias model differentiates force and value, where the force is the strength of the attraction and the value is the location toward which the judgment is attracted. The model also makes a formal theoretical distinction between bias and moderator variables. Two major classes of biases are discussed: biases that are measured with variables (e.g., assumed similarity) and directional bias, which refers to the extent to which judgments are pulled toward 1 end of the judgment continuum. Moderator variables are conceptualized as variables that affect the accuracy and bias forces but that do not affect judgments directly. We illustrate the model with 4 examples. We discuss the theoretical, empirical, methodological, measurement, and design implications of the model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-378
Number of pages22
JournalPsychological Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • Accuracy
  • Bias
  • Perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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