Expertise and the explanation effect

Urton Anderson, William F. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The effect of professional experience on the "explanation effect", i.e., generation of an explanation for an event occurrence increasing the judged likelihood of the event, is investigated in a risk assessment (financial auditing) context. An explanation effect was predicted for inexperienced auditors (auditing students); however, audit judgment experience was predicted to mediate, or eliminate, any explanation effect. Two competing hypotheses for the origin of the effect, the causal construction and recall-availability hypotheses, are tested given the presence of antecedent conditions for, and against, the explanation events. Audit risk judgments were provided by 58 novice and 42 experienced auditors. Written explanation for occurrence of the target event resulted in the explanation effect for novice subjects, both for specifie event and aggregate risk assessments. The pattern of results supported the recallavailability over the causal construction hypothesis. The judgments of the experienced auditors, however, did not indicate any explanation effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-269
Number of pages20
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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