Data Fixation: Methodology Refinements and Additional Empirical Evidence

Dennis Murray
Several previous studies (e.g., Ashton [1976], Dyckman et al. [1982] and Bloom et al. [1984]) have investigated data fixation in an accounting context. All of these studies suffer from various methodological flaws which hamper the interpretation of their results. This study reexamines data fixation by introducing several methodological refinements. These include full disclosure of the effect of an accounting change, a more focused statistical test and the use of both relatively naive and knowledgeable subjects. An analysis of subjects' decision rules and decision outputs indicated that both the naive and knowledgeable subjects exhibited a substantial amount of behavior consistent with fixation; however, the fixated behavior was most evident in only one of two treatment conditions.

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