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A psychological process approach to decision making: Post-decision restructuring of value conflicts

Publiceringsår: 2000
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 176
Dokumenttyp: Doktorsavhandling
Förlag: Department of Psychology


Recent research has shown that when decision makers in retrospect are asked to reproduce attractiveness evaluations (of aspects) of important characteristics (attributes) of a chosen and a non-chosen choice alternative, they exaggerate the attractiveness difference between the alternatives. This post-decision attractiveness differentiation (consolidation) works in favor of the chosen alternative. Consolidation processes, are predicted by Differentiation and Consolidation (Diff Con) Theory (Svenson, 1992), a theory, which constitutes the decision theoretic framework for this thesis. In four studies, the present thesis examines how so-called attractiveness value conflicts on important attributes are restructured from the pre-decision to the post-decision phase. In addition, restructuring of attribute importance, and attractiveness restructuring of choice-alternatives without value conflicts were investigated. Compared to earlier Diff Con research that used mainly hypothetical decision problems, the present thesis used, in most parts, decision problems closer to the decision maker's individual real-life decisions, and decisions with real substantial outcomes. Study I showed (in two experiments) no consolidation on the group level. Instead, separate analyses of attributes with value conflicts gave strong attractiveness restructuring in the post-decision phase. However, the disadvantage for the chosen alternative on attributes in conflict was never changed to an advantage during the time of the experiments. This result, coupled with similar results from a simultaneously ongoing study, gave an impetus for the following studies in this dissertation. In Study II, nursing students gave evaluations on the two most attractive training programs they actually were going to apply for. The results showed attractiveness restructuring favoring the chosen alternative on attributes in conflict only. The effect was so strong that disadvantages for the chosen alternative were turned into advantages during the time of the study. For the first time, importance restructuring predicted by Diff Con theory was also found empirically. Study III used a two-stage travel lottery with real outcomes as a decision problem. The study intended to facilitate the occurrence of conflict by means of matching the probabilities to win between the two choice alternatives. Winners showed attractiveness restructuring favoring the chosen alternative on attributes in conflict (chance to win). As in study II, importance restructuring was also found. Study IV used the same two-stage lottery as was used in study III. Attractiveness restructuring of attributes in conflict found in study III was partly replicated. In addition, the study investigated different kinds of relationships between importance and attractiveness. The results showed that attractiveness was related to importance more or less strongly for different alternatives. In particular, the positive correlation between importance and attractiveness was greater for the chosen alternative than for the non-chosen alternative. Finally, some proposals for future research were suggested including studies on value conflict and the relationship between importance and attractiveness.


Kulturens auditorium, Lund
  • Erik Lindberg


  • Social Sciences
  • Psychology
  • value conflict
  • attractiveness
  • Decision
  • post-decision processes
  • Psykologi


  • ISBN: 91-628-4317-6
  • ISRN: LUSADG/SAPS--00/1087--SE

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