- How decision reversibility affects motivation
- Journal of Experimental Psychology. General
- Volume | Issue number
- 143 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
The present research examined how decision reversibility can affect motivation. On the basis of extant findings, it was suggested that 1 way it could affect motivation would be to strengthen different regulatory foci, with reversible decision making, compared to irreversible decision making, strengthening prevention-related motivation relatively more than promotion-related motivation. If so, then decision reversibility should have effects associated with the relative differences between prevention and promotion motivation. In 5 studies, we manipulated the reversibility of a decision and used different indicators of regulatory focus motivation to test these predictions. Specifically, Study 1 tested for differences in participants' preference for approach versus avoidance strategies toward a desired end state. In Study 2, we used speed and accuracy performance as indicators of participants' regulatory motivation, and in Study 3, we measured global versus local reaction time performance. In Study 4, we approached the research question in a different way, making use of the value-from-fit hypothesis (Higgins, 2000, 2002). We tested whether a fit between chronic regulatory focus and focus induced by the reversibility of the decision increased participants' subjective positive feelings about the decision outcome. Finally, in Study 5, we tested whether regulatory motivation, induced by decision reversibility, also influenced participants' preference in specific product features. The results generally support our hypothesis showing that, compared to irreversible decisions, reversible decisions strengthen a prevention focus more than a promotion focus. Implications for research on decision making are discussed.
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