Publication Date

5-1-2007

Advisor(s)

Patalano, Andrea

Department

Psychology

Language

English

Abstract

When making decisions, people are often faced not only with a choice among available alternatives, but also with the option of deferring choice. Two factors have been shown to influence the likelihood of choice deferral, namely, choice difficulty and deferral-related risk. Two experiments considered the interaction between these two factors. Choice difficulty was operationalized as the presence versus absence of a dominant alternative in an initial two-option set. Risk was operationalized as the probability that the choice set will become less desirable as a result of delay. It was found that the likelihood of choice deferral is highly influenced by level of risk when a choice is straightforward but has little influence when it is difficult. However, this finding appears limited to situations in which risk is stated explicitly. The results suggest that, at least in some situations, people may have trouble integrating deferral-related risk information when making difficult choices.

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