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Confirmation bias and ignorance of context: accounting history’s curse

Guest speaker

Alan Sangster (University of Aberdeen)


Room 0.04 EEG- University of Minho: Campus de Gualtar


Start21.09.2022 13:00End21.09.2022 14:00

Event summary


This presentation critically analyses the entries in a Florentine bank ledger of 1211. It does so using a traditional historical method informed by the environmental context – socio-political, economic, commercial, and legal – of that time and place. Accompanying the analysis, examples are presented of how reviewers of both conference submissions and journal submissions have responded to this study. In doing so, it highlights a major issue reflected in the literature, and among those who research in this field: confirmation bias. It concludes that the ledger is being kept in double entry; and that confirmation bias is a far larger problem for accounting historians than anyone appears to have realised. There is also a clear message in this presentation for those who conduct research in other fields: confirmation bias can and does destroy scholarship, insight, understanding, and the advancement of knowledge. This is not a reflection of a “Third reviewer problem”. It is far more destructive than that.


To join the webinar, click on the link:  https://videoconf-colibri.zoom.us/j/92638420011

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