Purdue University Graduate School

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The effects of prior sensory experience on group decision-making

posted on 2022-07-27, 15:02 authored by Jeonghyun OhJeonghyun Oh

Decision-making groups use various resources that individual members possess such as knowledge, expertise, and information. Yet, little research addresses how individual members’ sensory experiences affect group deliberation processes. The current dissertation examines the effects of an individual’s prior sensory experience on group decision making. Drawing upon social decision schemes, it was hypothesized that the experiencedmember would be more influential in the group decision-making process than unexperienced members and that the experienced member’s decision is predictive of their group’s decision, referring to this decision scheme as the sensoryexperience rule. Two remote lab-based experiments were conducted in which participants met over Zoom and were asked to select an auditory option given a specific purpose (e.g., as background music for a hotel site). Each member was provided a verbal description of each of the provided auditory alternatives. Unlike the unexperienced members, the experienced member could also listen to the provided audio samples. In both studies, the sensory experience ruledescribed group choices well including situations in which the experienced member’s choice contradicted the majority’s choice in the group. Experienced members were perceived to use more credible, but not more vivid, narratives. Analyses of group discussions revealed that experienced members spoke more and were using a larger number of auditory expressions and metaphors than unexperienced members. Their narratives contained a smaller number of first-person singular pronouns and tended reflect lower spontaneity and cognitive processing. The studies underline the impact of sensory experience in group decision making that is different from general knowledge and expertise studied in previous research.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Communication

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Torsten Reimer

Additional Committee Member 2

Stacey Connaughton

Additional Committee Member 3

Hwanseok Song

Additional Committee Member 4

Ernest Park

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