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The Psychological Pleasure and Pain of Choosing: When People Prefer Choosing at the Cost of Subsequent Outcome Satisfaction

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Abstract

This empirical investigation tested the hypothesis that the benefits of personal choosing are restricted to choices made from among attractive alternatives. Findings from vignette and laboratory studies show that contrary to people's self-predictions prior to actually choosing, choosers only proved more satisfied than nonchoosers when selecting from among more preferred alternatives. When selecting from among less preferred alternatives, nonchoosers proved more satisfied with the decision outcome than choosers. Subsequent analyses revealed that differences in outcome satisfaction between choosers and nonchoosers emerge even before the decision outcome is experienced and that interventions during the decision-making process can serve to attenuate these differences. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
... The human decision-making element of shopping has been greatly reduced due to the arrival of an AI-based autonomous decision-making process. This has led to some customers being dissatisfied with decisions [9], feeling the depletion of selfregulatory resources [10], and being reluctant to forgo their decision-making authority [11], whereas others feel less burdened by the cognitive effort required in such decisions [11]. Due to the disruptive effect of this technology on the retailing environment, empirical evidence regarding the factors affecting customers' adoption of autonomous decision-making processes is required [5]. ...
... The human decision-making element of shopping has been greatly reduced due to the arrival of an AI-based autonomous decision-making process. This has led to some customers being dissatisfied with decisions [9], feeling the depletion of selfregulatory resources [10], and being reluctant to forgo their decision-making authority [11], whereas others feel less burdened by the cognitive effort required in such decisions [11]. Due to the disruptive effect of this technology on the retailing environment, empirical evidence regarding the factors affecting customers' adoption of autonomous decision-making processes is required [5]. ...
... Research shows that, if pensioners perceive their retirement as being forced on them, their well-being is negatively affected (Szinovacz & Davey, 2005;Van Solinge & Henkens, 2007). The judgment about the voluntariness of working or retiring is a subjective one, it is a judgment about an alternative that the individual did not experience (see Botti, 2004). Freedom of choice plays an important role in how people evaluate their lives, i.e. their overall well-being (Bavetta & Navarra, 2012). ...
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Many European countries are facing the challenge of increasing the effective retirement age. Increasing the effective retirement age also requires that older employees are voluntarily willing to continue working. A worker who is willing to retire but is not allowed to retire might experience a negative impact on his or her well-being. This articles studies the determinants of the willingness to retire: the job, health, and financial situation of the older worker, and other socio-demographic characteristics. To do this, the micro data of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe are used, which contains a binary question about willingness to retire. Based on the random effects logit estimator, we find that the job situation of the worker and the retirement of the partner are important drivers of the willingness to retire. Specifically, those willing to retire are more frequently employed in jobs that are mentally and physically demanding. They also feel less appreciated by the management or their colleagues and report to have fewer opportunities to get promotion. The willingness to retire is higher if the older worker has a retired partner. In the countries with the lowest rates of willingness to retire, the workers have better working conditions and are more easily able to make ends meet.
... Individuals with more perceived freedom of recreation experiences tend to show higher levels of competency, locus of control, and internal motivation (Janke et al., 2010). While there is research showing a positive association between perceived freedom and increased motivation, there exists a negative association between perceived freedom and subsequent satisfaction (Botti and lyengar, 2004). In fact, the psychological concept of choice overload (Chernev et al., 2015;Diehl and Poynor, 2010), wherein too many options can reduce confidence in having made a good decision (Chernev, 2003), or increase the levels of post-decision regret (Gourville and Soman, 2005), suggests that perceived freedom may exacerbate dissatisfaction. ...
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Angler satisfaction is a key consideration in the management of recreational fisheries. Anglers typically prefer high catch rates and large fish, but the importance of these catch outcomes for satisfaction may differ across angler types, target species, and other contextual conditions. We examined the relationships between catch outcomes and satisfaction using trip-level (n = 19,558) catch and harvest information from two fisheries with contrasting governance and cultural contexts within the same nation, a small club context of north-western Germany (Lower Saxony) and a regional context with largely open access in north-eastern Germany (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania). Both fisheries are from the same eco-region and offer multi-species fisheries of a similar species mix (predominantly freshwater). Catch rate and size of fish were found to positively affect catch satisfaction in both social-ecological contexts. The catch rate-satisfaction relationship showed diminishing marginal returns (i.e., more catch is better, but the marginal benefits diminish as catch increases), and the maximum fish size-satisfaction relationship was positively exponential (i.e., larger maximum fish sizes make anglers increasingly more satisfied). Social-ecological context, trip context (e.g., season and previous catch outcomes) and angler specialization were all significant moderators of the importance of catch outcomes towards satisfaction with catch. Importantly, after controlling for catch outcomes and other contextual factors, anglers in the small-scale club context from north-western Germany (Lower Saxony) were, on average, more satisfied with their catch than anglers in a large-scale regional context from north-eastern Germany (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania). These findings suggest that managers cannot expect anglers to be similarly satisfied at identical catch outcomes in different social-ecological contexts, even within the same nation. Managers may well be advised to manage for specific qualities of catch (e.g., regularity of catch and larger maximum size of fish) rather than attempting to manage for high catch rates alone as the latter might not contribute to more satisfied anglers after catch rate thresholds have been passed.
... Second, we extend the literature on personal control ( Botti and Iyengar 2004 ;Botti and McGill 2011 ;Cutright 2012 ;Cutright et al. 2013 ) by demonstrating that consumers' desire for control affects their preferences for products involving positive uncertainty. While the empirical evidence focuses on product and service offerings, we anticipate that gender will influence the evaluation of surprise or uncertain practices across the marketing mix when the desire for control is relevant and salient for men. ...
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In the last few years, retailers have introduced numerous products that intentionally conceal some information from the consumer at the time of decision making. While prior research has identified contexts in which customers are attracted to such offerings in the aggregate, heterogeneity in customer proclivities is not well-understood. In the present paper, we examine the effect of gender on choice of surprise (vs. certain) offerings at the point of purchase. We propose and find that, on average, men are less likely to opt for a surprise offering compared to women. We examine multiple mechanisms that could explain this effect – emotionality, desire for exploration, and desire for control – and find the strongest support for the latter, demonstrating that it is men's stronger desire for control over the purchase outcome that drives their preference for certain (vs. surprise) offerings. Consequently, contexts or product categories that make it acceptable for men to let go of control attenuate the observed gender difference. We present data from a travel services firm, an online product catalog, and both field and lab studies, providing robust support for this theory across multiple product categories and participant populations. This work concludes with a discussion of the potential boundary effects of the observed gender difference, a managerial roadmap that delineates the ways in which marketers can offer surprise offerings more fruitfully to both men and women, and recommendations for future research.
... Contexts range from consequential medical decisions to trivial day-to-day decisions (Botti et al. 2009;Steffel et al. 2016). In general, people often seem to show a preference for making a decision autonomously instead of delegating the decision and let someone else choose on one's behalf (Botti and Lyengar 2004;Botti and McGill 2006). One underlying reason may be people's belief that choosing oneself leads to greater satisfaction (Botti and McGill 2006). ...
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As artificial intelligence (AI) can increasingly be used to support decision-making in various areas, enhancing the understanding of human-AI collaboration is more important than ever. We study delegation between humans and AI as one form of collaboration. Specifically, we investigate whether there exist distinct patterns of human delegation behavior towards AI. In a laboratory experiment, subjects performed an image classification task with 100 images to be classified. For the last 50 images, the treatment group had the option to delegate images to an AI. By performing a cluster analysis on this treatment, we find four types of delegation behavior towards AI that differ in their overall performance, delegation rate, and their accuracy of self-assessment. Our results motivate further research on delegation of humans to AI and act as a starting point to research on human collaboration with AI on an individual level.
... First, we reason that people often rely on a heuristic that "more options is better" when making choices, while neglecting the potential negative consequences of having many options. Indeed, people often prefer to have many choice options (Iyengar and Lepper, 2000;Botti and Lyengar, 2004), but many options can also cause frustration, choice-overload (although this has not been found consistently across studies; Scheibehenne et al., 2010), and regret when people actually have to deal with many choice options (Schwartz, 2004;Heitmann et al., 2007;Sagi and Friedland, 2007). For example, people typically prefer large arrays of products to choose from in supermarkets, rather than a smaller selection. ...
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The appliances people adopt, and the way they use them, can critically influence the sustainable energy transition. People are often attracted to appliances with many setting options that offer them more control. Yet, operating many setting options can have negative consequences for users (e.g. user frustration) and the management of sustainable energy systems (e.g. unpredictable consumption increasing complexity and uncertainty of systems), which may obstruct sustainability goals. We aim to study how to reduce the preference for many setting options without reducing the perceived attractiveness of the appliance. In line with our theorizing we found that people opt for appliances with fewer setting options when they are asked to reflect on which options they would like to have from a list of possible setting options, while being equally satisfied with the appliance. In addition, we show that this is especially the case when asking people to select which setting options they would like an appliance to have, as this will feel like they gain options, rather than asking them which options they are willing to give up as this feels like losing options that their appliance could have. Our findings offer relatively easy and cost-efficient ways to decrease people’s desire for many setting options on appliances, decreasing stress on the user and the energy system, while ensuring satisfaction with and acceptance of the appliance.
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Many retailers use seemingly innocuous dividing lines to separate product alternatives on their websites or product catalogs. Although previous research on advertising design has focused on the impact of dividing lines on symbolic meanings or perceived categorization, the present research argues that, beyond symbolic or categorical functions, a dividing line can influence consumers' perceived quantity of the product alternatives displayed. Across 10 studies (including an eye‐tracking study and three additional studies reported in the Supporting Information Appendix), our results show that consumers perceive a smaller number of products displayed on a page when these products are separated by a dividing line compared to when they are not. This effect occurs because the dividing line separates the products into top versus bottom (or left vs. right) segments, such that participants' visual attention is largely drawn to the top (or the left) where their eyes first fixate. Consequently, participants tend to estimate the total number of items based on the subset they pay attention to. In addition, the effect is attenuated when participants' attention is directly drawn to the segment they have previously neglected and can hold regardless of line orientation. Finally, it can have several marketing outcomes, such as higher willingness to buy and lower post‐choice satisfaction.
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Previous research has shown that when teachers are oriented toward controlling rather than supporting autonomy in their students, the students display lowered intrinsic motivation and self-esteem. The present study explored conditions that lead teachers to be more controlling versus more autonomy oriented with students. Impressing upon teachers that they are responsible for their students' performing up to standards leads them to be more controlling than teachers who were told that there were no performance standards for their students' learning. Teachers in the former condition talked more, were more critical of the students, gave more commands, and allowed less choice and autonomy. Considerable research has detailed the processes through which external events can affect a person's intrinsic motivation. In reviewing the evidence, Deci and Ryan (1980) concluded that the central parameter mediating the effects of external events on intrinsic motivation is self-determin ation. In other words, the experience of choice seems to be a necessary condition for the maintenance or enhancement of intrinsic motivation. Events that pressure people toward specified outcomes, thereby denying them the experience of choice, have repeatedly been shown to undermine intrinsic motivation. These events are referred to by Deci and Ryan as controlling. In contrast, events that provide people with meaningful feedback in the context of choice have been shown to enhance intrinsic motivation; these events are referred to as informational. There are two important components of informational events (and thus of events that enhance intrinsic motivation): They must provide choice and they must contain meaningful feedback. By meaningful, we
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Yoked pairs of subjects solved puzzles such that one member of each pair was given choice about what puzzles to work on and how much time to allot to each, while the yoked subject was assigned the same puzzles and time allotments as those chosen by the first subject. It was predicted and found that subjects who chose the activities and time allotments -in other words, who had additional self-determination--would be more intrinsically motivated than subjects doing the same activity without choice.
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Do people reduce dissonance more for their errors of commission than their errors of omission? More specifically, do people come to value a disappointing outcome obtained through a direct action more than an identical outcome obtained through a failure to act? To answer this question, the authors created a laboratory analogue of the "three doors" or "Monty Hall" problem. Subjects initially selected one box from a group of three, only one of which contained a "grand" prize. After the experimenter opened one of the two unchosen boxes and revealed a modest prize, subjects were asked to decide whether to stay with their initial selection or trade it in for the other unopened box. Regardless of the subject's choice, a modest prize was received. Results indicated that subjects who switched boxes assigned a higher monetary value to the modest prize they received than those who stayed with their initial choice. Implications for the psychology of regret are discussed.
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This study tested the prediction that introspecting about the reasons for one's preferences would reduce satisfaction with a consumer choice. Subjects evaluated two types of posters and then chose one to take home. Those instructed to think about their reasons chose a different type of poster than control subjects and, when contacted 3 weeks later, were less satisfied with their choice. When people think about reasons, they appear to focus on attributes of the stimulus that are easy to verbalize and seem like plausible reasons but may not be important causes of their initial evaluations. When these attributes imply a new evaluation of the stimulus, people change their attitudes and base their choices on these new attitudes. Over time, however, people's initial evaluation of the stimulus seems to return, and they come to regret choices based on the new attitudes.
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The authors propose that the attractiveness and choice probability of an alternative can be enhanced by making it the focus of a comparison (the focal option) with a competing alternative. This proposition is supported in choice problems involving alternatives about which consumers have information in memory (e.g., frozen yogurt and fruit salad). The focal option was manipulated by asking respondents how much more or less attractive one of the two (e.g., fruit salad) was. When descriptions of alternatives' features were provided rather than retrieved from memory, a manipulation of the focal option had a weaker and less consistent effect on preferences. Think-aloud protocols were used to gain insights into the effect of changing the focal option on decision processes. The implications of the results for marketers' communications strategies are discussed.
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Presents a theory of norms and normality and applies the theory to phenomena of emotional responses, social judgment, and conversations about causes. Norms are assumed to be constructed ad hoc by recruiting specific representations. Category norms are derived by recruiting exemplars. Specific objects or events generate their own norms by retrieval of similar experiences stored in memory or by construction of counterfactual alternatives. The normality of a stimulus is evaluated by comparing it with the norms that it evokes after the fact, rather than to precomputed expectations. Norm theory is applied in analyses of the enhanced emotional response to events that have abnormal causes, of the generation of predictions and inferences from observations of behavior, and of the role of norms in causal questions and answers. (3 p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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How does the attractiveness of a particular option depend on comparisons drawn between it and other alternatives? We observe that in many cases, comparisons hurt: When the options being compared have both meaningful advantages and meaningful disadvantages, comparison between options makes each option less attractive. The effects of comparison are crucial in choice problems involving grouped options, because the way in which options are grouped influences which comparisons are likely to be made. In particular, we propose that grouping focuses comparison, making within-group comparisons more likely than between-group comparisons. Consistent with this prediction, experimental results showed that grouping hurts: An option is more likely to be chosen when alone than when part of a group.
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In their research on decision under uncertainty, Kahneman and Tversky (1982a) examined whether, given the same negative outcome, there is any difference in the experience of regret, depending on whether the outcome follows action or inaction. This study attempted to replicate Kahneman and Tversky's (1982a) finding of greater regret for action than inaction and to determine whether this pattern extends to the parallel case of joy over happy outcomes, to different life domains, and to both genders. Through a vignette experiment, the previousfinding of a strong tendency to imagine greater regret following action than inaction was replicated. The same pattern was observed in the case of joy over positive outcomes. In two of the three vignettes presented, this "actor effect "was stronger for negative than for positive outcomes. In a third vignette, explicit knowledge of a missed negative outcome seems to have magnified the usual joy over having made a good decision, causing the expected joy over acting and succeeding to rise to the typically high level of regret over acting and failing. Suggestions regarding the future study of these issues are offered.
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Presents examples in which a decision, preference, or emotional reaction is controlled by factors that may appear irrelevant to the choice made. The difficulty people have in maintaining a comprehensive view of consequences and their susceptibility to the vagaries of framing illustrate impediments to rational decision making. However, experimental surveys indicate that such departures from objectivity tend to follow regular patterns that can be described mathematically. The descriptive study of preferences also challenges the theory of rational choice, as it is often unclear whether the effects of decision weights, reference points, framing, and regret should be considered as errors or biases or whether they should be accepted as valid elements of human experience. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)