I'm No Longer Torn After Choice: How Explicit Choices Implicitly Shape Preferences of Odors

Laboratory for the Study of Emotion Elicitation and Expression, Department of Psychology, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.
Psychological Science (Impact Factor: 4.43). 04/2010; 21(4):489-93. DOI: 10.1177/0956797610364115
Source: PubMed


Several studies have shown that preferences can be strongly modulated by cognitive processes such as decision making and choices. However, it is still unclear whether choices can influence preferences of sensory stimuli implicitly. This question was addressed here by asking participants to evaluate odors, to choose their preferred odors within pairs, to reevaluate the odors, and to perform an unexpected memory test. Results revealed, for the first time in the study of olfaction, the existence of postchoice preference changes, in the sense of an overvaluation of chosen odors and a devaluation of rejected ones, even when choices were forgotten. These results suggest that chemosensory preferences can be modulated by explicit choices and that such modulation might rely on implicit mechanisms. This finding rules out any explanation of postchoice preference changes in terms of experimental demand and strongly challenges the classical cognitive-dissonance-reduction account of such preference changes.

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Available from: Géraldine Coppin, Jan 08, 2015
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    • "In this regards the concept of consumer's preferences can be identified as a judgment that is evaluated, in a way, of liking or disliking an object (Coppin, 2010; Lichtenstein, 2006). So tourist's preference depends on the options of meals that are offered by the restaurants, in a way, that increased their motivation to choose that particular restaurant in the destination where they actually visit (Park, 2004). "
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    • "Alternatively, a persistent impact of choice can be interpreted in terms of implicit choice memory [10], [11], [18]. As suggested by Lieberman and his colleagues [11], choice-induced preference change can rely on an automatic process that does not necessarily require explicit memory. "
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    ABSTRACT: Behavioral choice alters one's preference rather than simply reflecting it. This effect to fit preferences with past choice, is known as "choice-induced preference change." After making a choice between two equally attractive options, one tends to rate the chosen option better than they initially did and/or the unchosen option worse. The present study examined how behavioral choice changes subsequent preference, using facial images for the choice options as well as blind choice techniques. Participants rated their facial preference for each face, and chose between two equally preferred faces and subsequently rated their facial preference. Results from four experiments demonstrated that randomly chosen faces were more preferred only after participants were required to choose "a preferred face," (in Experiment 1) but not "an unpreferred face," (in Experiment 2) or "a rounder face" (in Experiment 3). Further, preference change was still observed after participants were informed that choices were actually random (in Experiment 4). Our findings provide new and important implications characterizing the conditions under which random choice changes preference, and show that people are tempted to make a biased evaluation even after they know that they did not make the choice for themselves.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    • "The original paper describing the methodological flaw was made available to the public as a working paper in 2008 and attracted the attention of researchers (see Chen and Risen, 2009; Sagarin and Skowronski, 2009a,b). However, despite the fact that their critique could potentially undermine the conclusions of any study that uses the paradigm, behavioral, and neuroimaging studies using the paradigm continue to be published without addressing the critique (Sharot et al., 2009, 2010a; Coppin et al., 2010, 2012; Imada and Kitayama, 2010; Lee and Schwarz, 2010; West et al., 2010; Harmon-Jones et al., 2011; Jarcho et al., 2011; Qin et al., 2011; Kimel et al., 2012; Kitayama et al., 2013). Furthermore, although some researchers have already provided evidence for the existence of choice-included preference change using new paradigms or modifications of the free-choice paradigm, some of them are not sufficiently compelling, as detailed later. "
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