Information Quantity and Order in Students' Tax Research Judgments

Alexander M. Gelardi, University of St. Thomas, Minnesota

Document Type Article

Vol 2 (1) 25-46


The Belief Adjustment model predicts recency effects for complex information encoded in a step-by-step process. However, the literature indicates that the recency effect may not carry-over to larger numbers of pieces of information. This may be a problem with the amount of information now available through the internet.

Tax research tasks can have a number of pieces of information (cues). How tax students process information has not been studied extensively. This study extended prior work by investigating the effect of series of four, eight, and twelve cues on tax decisions made by undergraduate tax students.

It was found that there was a strong overall recency order effect. However, the recency order effect seemed to be driven by the longer cue series, rather than by the shorter cue series. This is contrary to the predictions of the Belief Adjustment model.