Psychophysiological Responses to Data Visualization and Visualization Effects on Auditors’ Judgments and Audit Quality

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2018-08-29
Authors
Rose, Anna M.
Rose, Jacob M.
Rotaru, Kristian
Sanderson, Kerri-Ann
Thibodeau, Jay C.
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Abstract
We conduct experiments with practicing Big 4 auditors and business students in order to investigate the psychophysiological responses to Big Data visualizations and the effects of different visualization techniques on auditor judgment and ultimately audit quality. More specifically, the first experiment with students examines whether visualizations can be designed to increase the level of a users’ arousal. Such increases in arousal have the capacity to yield significant benefits to the audit profession by drawing auditors’ attention to important patterns in data and promoting the evaluation of these patterns during evidence evaluation. Results of the first experiment using cognitive pupillometry and eye gaze measurement indicate that different visualization techniques produce significant differences in the level of arousal without interfering with information evaluation efficiency. The second experiment then investigates whether visualizations that were shown to promote higher and lower levels of arousal have differential effects on auditor judgments and audit quality. In addition, the second experiment investigates whether the reliability of the data sources underlying visualizations affect auditors’ judgments. Results from the second experiment indicate that visualizations that increase arousal enhance auditors’ ability to recognize disconfirming evidence and incorporate this evidence into their decisions. That is, auditors who view visualizations of disconfirming evidence that are designed to promote arousal recommend greater reductions to management estimates of reported revenue and increase their budgeted audit hours more than auditors who view visualizations that promote less arousal. In addition, auditors who view visualizations that increase arousal are more likely to attend to the reliability of data used to create the visualizations. Overall, the experiments reveal that understanding the root causes of different visualization techniques on arousal and auditor judgment present multiple opportunities to enhance audit quality.
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Big Data, Auditor judgement, Disconfirming evidence, Auditor evidence evaluation
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