Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Alisa Brink


This dissertation consists of three studies. The first study conducts a 2 by 2 experiment to examine how auditors are influenced by the presence of irrelevant information and minor errors (i.e., “dirty documents”) when reviewing audit evidence produced by the client. This study tasks 97 public accountants to review audit evidence and finds some evidence that dirty documents influence an auditor’s assessment of the likelihood of account misstatement and the appropriate sample size.

In order to demonstrate the usefulness of eye-tracking and to help generate potential research topics, the second study reviews extant literature in other disciplines where eye-tracking technology is applied to various judgment and decision-making contexts. This study suggests how eye-tracking can enhance extant accounting research. Illustrative examples of promising research opportunities (extending extant research) are provided. In addition, this study identifies how eye-tracking can be applied to more contemporary decision making and educational circumstances.

The third study extends the first experiment through the use of eye-tracking technology. This study utilizes the same 2 by 2 experiment as the first study, but in this case records the eye movements of 43 auditing students while they review the audit evidence. The eye-tracking technology provides additional detail as to the specific evidence participants’ focus on during their review. This study finds that participants focus their attention differently depending on whether irrelevant information or minor errors were present.


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VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission