The psychology of doing nothing: Forms of decision avoidance result from reason and emotion

C. Anderson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    Abstract

    Several independent lines of research bear on the question of why individuals avoid decisions by postponing them, failing to act, or accepting the status quo. This review relates findings across several different disciplines and uncovers 4 decision avoidance effects that offer insight into this common but troubling behavior: choice deferral, status quo bias, omission bias, and inaction inertia. These findings are related by common antecedents and consequences in a rational¿emotional model of the factors that predispose humans to do nothing. Prominent components of the model include cost¿benefit calculations, anticipated regret, and selection difficulty. Other factors affecting decision avoidance through these key components, such as anticipatory negative emotions, decision strategies, counterfactual thinking, and preference uncertainty, are also discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)139-167
    JournalPsychological Bulletin
    Volume129
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2003

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