Take it or leave it: How choosing versus rejecting alternatives affects information processing

Tatiana Sokolova, ARADHNA KRISHNA

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

People can make decisions by choosing or by rejecting alternatives. This research shows that changing a task from choice to rejection makes people more likely to rely on deliberative processing, what we label the task-type effect. To demonstrate this effect, we use a set of established decision biases that can be attenuated under deliberative processing. We show that changing a task from choice to rejection makes people express more consistent preferences between safe and risky options in the Asian disease problem (study 1A) and in financial decision making (study 1B), even with real monetary consequences (study 1C). Further, switching a task from choice to rejection increases the quality of consideration sets in the context of hotel reviews (study 2) and leads to more rational decisions in the context of cell phone plan selection (study 3). Studies 4 and 5 tap into the process underlying the effect of task type. We demonstrate that a rejection task produces decisions similar to those observed in a choice task when decision makers are cognitively depleted (study 4) or encouraged to rely on their feelings (study 5). The findings provide insight into the effect of task type on deliberation and decision outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)614-635
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Volume43
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Consumer behavior
  • Decision making
  • Information processing
  • Task performance
  • Frames (Social sciences)
  • choice and rejection
  • framing effects
  • information processing

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