Document Type

Article

Publication Date

January 2010

Journal or Book Title

Journal of Behavioral Decision Making

Volume

23

Abstract

Indecisiveness is a trait-related general tendency to experience decision difficulties across a variety of situations, leading to decision delay, worry, and regret. Indecisiveness is proposed (Rassin, 2007) to be associated with an increase in desire for information acquisition and reliance on compensatory strategies—as evidenced by alternative-based information search—during decision making. However existing studies provide conflicting findings. We conducted an information board study of indecisiveness, using eye tracking methodology, to test the hypotheses that the relationship between indecisiveness and choice strategy depends on being in the early stage of the decision making process, and that it depends on being in the presence of an opportunity to delay choice. We found strong evidence for the first hypothesis in that indecisive individuals changed shift behavior from the first to the second half of the task, consistent with a move from greater to lesser compensatory processing, while the shift behavior of decisive individuals suggested lesser compensatory processing over the whole task. Indecisiveness was also related to time spent viewing attributes of the selected course, and to time spent looking away from decision information. These findings resolve past discrepancies, suggest an interesting account of how the decision process unfolds for indecisive versus decisive individuals, and contribute to a better understanding of this tendency.

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