Seminar: Jay Russo, Cornell University


Bronfman Building Room 245, 1001 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montreal, QC, H3A 1G5, CA

What is Desired in the Desirability Bias?

Jay Russo
Cornell University

Date: May 9, 2014
Time: 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Location: Room 245


The desirability bias is the elevation of the predicted likelihood of a preferred outcome. The present work asserts that one cause of this bias is the general desire for cognitive consistency between the strength of preference for an outcome and the likelihood of its occurrence. Two experiments tested this claim using fans’ judgments from the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. In Study 1 raising the activation level of the goal of cognitive consistency increased the desirability bias. Further, by asking for the prediction first, increasing the consistency goal yielded the reverse of the desirability bias, prediction changed the preference. Study 2 measured the activation level of the consistency goal during the two judgments, preference and likelihood. As predicted, when either was greater, the goal of cognitive consistency was also more active. An open question is the joint impact on consumer behavior of the desirability bias and the goal of cognitive consistency. 

For more information, please contact Cynthia Wong at: cynthia.wong3 [at]