Framing effects are a phenomenon where individuals respond differently to equivalent information presented in a positive or negative manner. Whether framing effects within audit evidence affect auditor judgment is unknown. We conduct a simulated client inquiry experiment to investigate whether the framing of an inquiry evidence item (positive versus negative) and the timing of the frame within the inquiry evidence series (at the beginning versus end) influences auditor judgment. More consistent with attribute framing than belief-adjustment predictions, our findings suggest a primacy effect where participants who receive a positive frame at the beginning of the inquiry are less likely to change their initial assessments of misstatement than participants who receive a “neutral” perspective (i.e., both positive and negative frames simultaneously). Our results imply that positively framed initial evidence, relative to other settings, may constrain auditors’ consideration of subsequent evidence when making judgments about the account in question.

Data Availability: Data are available from the authors on request.

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