Refinement of Outcome Bias Measurement in the Parental Decision-Making Context


  • Kaja Damnjanović
  • Sandra Ilić
  • Irena Pavlović
  • Vera Novković


The aim of this study was twofold: one was to test the impact of the involvement on the parental outcome bias, and the second was to refine the measurement of outcome bias, normally reported as the difference between evaluations of a single decision, with different outcomes assigned to it. We introduced the evaluation of a decision without an outcome, to induce theoretically normative evaluation, unbiased by outcome, from which the evaluation shift could be calculated in either direction. To test this refinement in the parental decision-making context, we produced childcare dilemmas with varying levels of complexity, since the rise of complexity induces stronger bias. Complexity was determined by the particular combination of two factors: parental involvement in a decision - the amount of motivation, interest and drive evoked by it – and whether the decision was health-related or not. We presented parents with the decisions for evaluation, followed by a positive and a negative outcome, and without an outcome. The results confirm the interaction between involvement and domain on decision evaluation. Highly involving decisions yielded weaker outcome bias than low-involvement decisions in both health and non-health domain. Results also confirm the validity of the proposed way of measuring OB, revealing that in some situations positive outcomes skew evaluations more than negative outcomes. Also, a highly-involving dilemma followed by negative outcome did not produce significantly different evaluation compared to evaluation of a decision without outcome. Thus, adding a neutral position rendered OB measurement more precise and our involvement-related insights more nuanced.