Justification and Self Review: Mitigating Irrelevant Affect in Accounting Judgments

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Book Chapter

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Research in psychology and accounting suggest that affect (client likeability) toward a person can impact human judgment, resulting in more favorable treatment for likeable than dislikeable individuals. This study investigates whether two debiasing mechanisms, justification and self-review, mitigate the impact of affect (client likeability) on fraud risk assessments. Consistent with prior research on nonfraud audit judgments, this study finds that in absence of any debiasing mechanism, inexperienced auditors are susceptible to affect biases in fraud judgments. Extending prior research, we find justification is not sufficient to mitigate likeability, but self-review is an effective mechanism to mitigate the effect of client likeability in a fraud judgment task. Supplemental findings indicate that general accounting experience, in itself, does not mitigate client likeability; however, the effectiveness of the self-review mechanism extends to these participants.