Option attachment: when Deliberating Makes Choosing Feel like Losing

Z. Carmon, K. Wertenbroch, M. Zeelenberg

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    232 Citations (Scopus)
    810 Downloads (Pure)


    Common sense suggests that consumers make more satisfying decisions as they consider their options more closely. Yet we argue that such close consideration can have undesirable consequences because it may induce attachment to the optionsa sense of prefactual ownership of the choice options. When consumers then select one option, they effectively lose this prefactual possession of the other, nonchosen options. This yields a feeling of discomfort ("choosing feels like losing") and an increase in the attractiveness of the forgone option, compared to its appeal before the choice. A series of nine experiments provides evidence of this phenomenon and support for our explanation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)15-29
    JournalJournal of Consumer Research
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


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