Does repetition impair auditors' judgments?
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine whether the repetition effect bias noted in prior psychology literature impacts auditor judgments. Were auditors to succumb to this bias, repeated statements would be perceived to have higher validity than single exposure to the same statement, potentially impairing subsequent judgments, including audit opinions and thereby undermining audit quality. Design/methodology/approach - Multiple explanatory hypotheses, including repeated explanations, were evaluated by audit seniors in an experimental analytical procedures setting where the nature (error or non-error) and number (six or ten) of explanations was varied. Findings - Auditors were not found to exhibit a repetition effect (measured as an absolute increase in perceived validity) however differences did occur in their judgments owing to both the nature and number of explanations considered. Consistently the likelihood for repeated items on short lists was increased and on longer it was decreased, while for non-errors it was increased and for errors it was decreased. Practical implications - These results suggest that audit quality could be impaired if auditors do not consider a broad set of plausible explanations, particularly where they receive repeated non-error explanations. Originality/value - No prior study has addressed this issue in this context.
Volume (Year): 23 (2008)
Issue (Month): 8 (September)
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