Document Type


Publication Date

January 2007

Journal or Book Title

Judgment and Decision Making




People have been shown to delay decision making to wait for missing noninstrumental attribute information--information that would not have altered their decision if known at the outset--with this delay originally attributed to uncertainty obscuring one's true preference (Bastardi & Shafir, 1998). To test this account, relative to an alternative that delay arises from low confidence in one's preference (Tykocinski & Ruffle, 2003), we manipulated information certainty and the magnitude of a penalty for delay, the latter intended to reduce the influence of easily resolved sources of delay and to magnify any influence of uncertainty. Contrary to expectations, the results were largely inconsistent with the uncertainty account in that, under a low penalty, delay did not depend on information certainty; and, under a high penalty, delay rate was actually much lower when information was uncertain. To explain the latter, we propose that people use a strategy for resolving choice under uncertainty that does not require establishing a confident preference for each value of the missing information. These findings are related to others in which choice difficulty has been found to be a major source of delay.