The tendency to look for evidence that supports, rather than questions, one's viewpoint (preference effect) is a pervasive phenomenon. Although one important goal of education is developing critical thinking, the widespread practice of grading might discourage students in appreciating disconfirming evidence. We hypothesized that individual grading increases the preference effect. In Experiment 1, participants who expected to be graded exhibited a higher preference effect compared to participants who expected their work to be merely visible. Experiment 2 replicated this effect and further showed that grading increased participants' perception of a competitive social comparison. Implications for educational policies are discussed.
Hayek, A. S., Toma, C., Oberlé, D., & Butera, F. (2014). The effect of grades on the preference effect: Grading reduces consideration of disconfirming evidence. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 36(6), 544-552. https://doi.org/10.1080/01973533.2014.969840