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In two experiments, we provide evidence for a fundamental discussion asymmetry, namely, preference-consistent information sharing. Despite being in a dyadic situation requiring open information exchange and being given no incentive to do so, participants communicated more information that supported their individually preferred decision alternative than information that contradicted it. Preference-consistent information sharing was not caused by biased recall and occurred in written as well as in face-to-face communication. Moreover, we tested whether preference-consistent information sharing was influenced by statements by bogus discussion partners indicating that they held a congruent versus incongruent preference to the participants' preference and that they understood versus did not understand the participants' preference. We found that when partners stated that they understood the participants' preference, subsequent preference-consistent information sharing was considerably reduced. This indicates that a motivation to be understood by others might be an important driving force underlying preference-consistent information sharing.

Original publication




Journal article


Pers Soc Psychol Bull

Publication Date





1684 - 1696


Adult, Bias, Choice Behavior, Communication, Comprehension, Decision Making, Female, Humans, Information Dissemination, Informed Consent, Male, Mental Recall, Motivation, Social Dominance, Writing, Young Adult