Publication Date

4-2015

Advisor(s)

Andrea Patalano

Major

Neuroscience and Behavior

Language

English

Abstract

Maximizing tendency-an individual difference in the desire to choose optimal options rather than ones that are merely sufficient-has been associated with greater search for alternatives prior to choice commitment. However, recent work has shown that when search came with the risk of losing some existing alternatives, maximizers explored fewer alternatives before selection, the inverse of the established pattern (Patalano, Weizenbaum, Lolli, & Anderson, 2015). In the central study of this thesis, I investigated the relationship between maximizing tendency and search behavior in a serial search task in which choices were presented sequentially and immediately became unavailable if rejected. This common decision situation has elements from each previously studied context. In both this study and a baseline study (in which no sequentially presented options became unavailable), maximizing tendency predicted more extensive search. The results suggest that when loss of rejected options is definite and unavoidable, maximizing tendency is associated with greater, rather than lesser, search for choice alternatives.

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