The Impact of Positive and Negative Mood on the Hypothesis Generation and Ethical Judgments of Auditors.

This paper examines the impact of mood on the hypothesis generation and ethical judgments of auditors. Prior psychology research documents different effects of negative and positive mood on information processing such that negative (positive) mood leads to more systematic (heuristic) processing (e.g., Forgas 1995a; Bless 2000). Theoretical accounting research (Gaudine and Thorne 2001) proposes a positive relation between positive mood and ethical decision-making. Based on this research ,we predict that negative (compared with positive) mood will enhance performance on a hypothesis generation task and impair performance on two ethical tasks. These predictions are tested in an experiment in which auditors perform an analytical procedures task involving the generation of explanations for fluctuations in financial ratios and two ethical tasks involving the truthful reporting of information. Consistent with predictions, the results show that auditors’ judgments are influenced by their mood state. Specifically, auditors in a negative (compared with a positive) mood generated more correct explanations for fluctuations in financial ratios, but made less ethical judgments. The implications of these results are discussed, and suggestions for future research are offered.

Main Author: Cianci, Anna M.
Other Authors: Bierstaker, James.
Format: Villanova Faculty Authorship
Language: English
Published: 2009
Online Access: http://ezproxy.villanova.edu/login?url=https://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:174896
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dc_source_str_mv Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory 28(2), November 2009, 119-144.
author Cianci, Anna M.
author_facet_str_mv Cianci, Anna M.
Bierstaker, James.
author_or_contributor_facet_str_mv Cianci, Anna M.
Bierstaker, James.
author_s Cianci, Anna M.
spellingShingle Cianci, Anna M.
The Impact of Positive and Negative Mood on the Hypothesis Generation and Ethical Judgments of Auditors.
author-letter Cianci, Anna M.
author_sort_str Cianci, Anna M.
author2 Bierstaker, James.
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dc_title_str The Impact of Positive and Negative Mood on the Hypothesis Generation and Ethical Judgments of Auditors.
title The Impact of Positive and Negative Mood on the Hypothesis Generation and Ethical Judgments of Auditors.
title_short The Impact of Positive and Negative Mood on the Hypothesis Generation and Ethical Judgments of Auditors.
title_full The Impact of Positive and Negative Mood on the Hypothesis Generation and Ethical Judgments of Auditors.
title_fullStr The Impact of Positive and Negative Mood on the Hypothesis Generation and Ethical Judgments of Auditors.
title_full_unstemmed The Impact of Positive and Negative Mood on the Hypothesis Generation and Ethical Judgments of Auditors.
collection_title_sort_str impact of positive and negative mood on the hypothesis generation and ethical judgments of auditors.
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description This paper examines the impact of mood on the hypothesis generation and ethical judgments of auditors. Prior psychology research documents different effects of negative and positive mood on information processing such that negative (positive) mood leads to more systematic (heuristic) processing (e.g., Forgas 1995a; Bless 2000). Theoretical accounting research (Gaudine and Thorne 2001) proposes a positive relation between positive mood and ethical decision-making. Based on this research ,we predict that negative (compared with positive) mood will enhance performance on a hypothesis generation task and impair performance on two ethical tasks. These predictions are tested in an experiment in which auditors perform an analytical procedures task involving the generation of explanations for fluctuations in financial ratios and two ethical tasks involving the truthful reporting of information. Consistent with predictions, the results show that auditors’ judgments are influenced by their mood state. Specifically, auditors in a negative (compared with a positive) mood generated more correct explanations for fluctuations in financial ratios, but made less ethical judgments. The implications of these results are discussed, and suggestions for future research are offered.
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dc.title The Impact of Positive and Negative Mood on the Hypothesis Generation and Ethical Judgments of Auditors.
dc.creator Cianci, Anna M.
Bierstaker, James.
dc.description This paper examines the impact of mood on the hypothesis generation and ethical judgments of auditors. Prior psychology research documents different effects of negative and positive mood on information processing such that negative (positive) mood leads to more systematic (heuristic) processing (e.g., Forgas 1995a; Bless 2000). Theoretical accounting research (Gaudine and Thorne 2001) proposes a positive relation between positive mood and ethical decision-making. Based on this research ,we predict that negative (compared with positive) mood will enhance performance on a hypothesis generation task and impair performance on two ethical tasks. These predictions are tested in an experiment in which auditors perform an analytical procedures task involving the generation of explanations for fluctuations in financial ratios and two ethical tasks involving the truthful reporting of information. Consistent with predictions, the results show that auditors’ judgments are influenced by their mood state. Specifically, auditors in a negative (compared with a positive) mood generated more correct explanations for fluctuations in financial ratios, but made less ethical judgments. The implications of these results are discussed, and suggestions for future research are offered.
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