Assessing the Effects of Partisan Bias at the Group Level of Analysis: A Hidden Profile Experiment

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American Politics Research

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Although there is some evidence in the political arena that pooling information can overcome individual biases to improve decision-making accuracy, research from the group communication and psychology arenas suggests otherwise. Specifically, research on the hidden profile, a group-level decision-making problem, suggests that groups are decidedly biased when making decisions. This laboratory experiment tested whether or not partisan biases manifest at the group level of analysis. In the main, it was found that groups composed of either all Republican or all Democratic group members were likely to make a decision that was consonant with their party’s political ideology, which ultimately impacted hidden profile solution rates (i.e., decision accuracy). Moreover, supplemental analyses suggest that Republican and Democratic groups reached their biased decisions through different means. A discussion is provided in which the implications of these results are considered.


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