Belief overkill (Jervis's term for what Montgomery called "search for dominance structures") is the tendency to bring all arguments into line with a favored conclusion. For example, people who vote Republican because they are anti-abortion may come to see the party's anti-tax position as an asset, although they were previously not particularly anti-tax. In experiments done on the World Wide Web using hypothetical candidates, judgments about whether a candidate's position on a familiar issue favors the candidate are correlated with parallel judgments about the candidate's other positions. In a few cases, judgments even reverse, so that a position that is counted as a minus for other candidates becomes a plus for a favored candidate.
Individuals differ widely in these effects. I discuss alternative measures of belief overkill and its relation to projection and to accuracy in judgment.