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The Role of Multimedia in Changing First Impression Bias

Kai H. Lim, Izak Benbasat and Lawrence M. Ward
Information Systems Research
Vol. 11, No. 2 (June 2000), pp. 115-136
Published by: INFORMS
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23015878
Page Count: 22
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The Role of Multimedia in Changing First Impression Bias
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Abstract

First impression bias refers to a limitation of human information processing in which people are strongly influenced by the first piece of information that they are exposed to, and that they are biased in evaluating subsequent information in the direction of the initial influence. The psychology literature has portrayed first impression bias as a virtually "inherent" human bias. Drawing from multimedia literature, this study identifies several characteristics of multimedia presentations that have the potential to alleviate first impression bias. Based on this literature, a set of predictions was generated and tested through a laboratory experiment using a simulated multimedia intranet. Half of the 80 subjects were provided with a biased cue. Subjects were randomly assigned to four groups: (1) text with first impression bias cue, (2) multimedia with first impression bias cue, (3) text without biased cue, and (4) multimedia without biased cue. The experimental task involved conducting a five-year performance appraisal of a department head. The first impression bias cue was designed to provide incomplete and unfavorable information about the department head, but the information provided subsequently was intended to be favorable of his performance. Results show that the appraisal score of the text with biased cue group was significantly lower than the text only (without biased cue) group. On the other hand, the appraisal score of the multimedia with biased cue group was not significantly different from the multimedia only (without biased cue) group. As a whole, the results suggest that multimedia presentations, but not text-based presentations, reduce the influence of first impression bias.

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