Justifying the judgment process affects neither judgment accuracy, nor strategy use

Janina A Hoffmann, Wolfgang Gaissmaier, Bettina von Helversen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (SciVal)


Decision quality is often evaluated based on whether decision makers can adequately explain the decision process. Accountability often improves judgment quality because decision makers weigh and integrate information more thoroughly, but it could also hurt judgment processes by disrupting retrieval of previously encountered cases. We investigated to what degree process accountability motivates decision makers to shift from retrieval of past exemplars to rule-based integration processes. This shift may hinder accurate judgments in retrieval-based configural judgment tasks (Experiment 1) but may improve accuracy in elemental judgment tasks requiring weighing and integrating information (Experiment 2). In randomly selected trials, participants had to justify their judgments. Process accountability neither changed how accurately people made a judgment, nor the judgment strategies. Justifying the judgment process only decreased confidence in trials involving a justification. Overall, these results imply that process accountability may affect judgment quality less than expected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627-641
Number of pages15
JournalJudgement and Decision Making
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • accountability,cognitive processes,judgment


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