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Memories of real-life decisions

Publiceringsår: 2007
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 205-220
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Memory
Volym: 15
Nummer: 2
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Psychology Press


Three studies investigated decision makers' memory representations of choice alternatives in most important real-life decisions. In Study 1, each participant recalled the most important decision that she or he had ever made and rated to what degree a number of characteristics could describe the decisions. In Study 2, the participants were asked to think about an important decision that they had made during the last 7-10 days. In Study 3, the memory representations of decisions of a group of action-oriented participants were compared with those of a group of state-oriented participants (Kuhl, 1983). Characteristics related to standard decision theory, like consequences, values, and likelihood, had high ratings of applicability as well as affect/feeling. When testing the applicability of a circumplex model, the fuzzy-trace theory of memory, and differences between state-and action-oriented decision makers, we found (1) that there was no support for the circumplex model of emotions. Instead, an important decision problem was characterised by both positive and negative affect/emotion and thus, a bipolar mapping was found inadequate; (2) that a comparison of abstract and concrete aspects showed that the abstract characteristics scored higher, thereby supporting the fuzzy-trace theory; and (3) that the prediction that action-oriented participants would score higher than state-oriented participants on the characteristic of activity was not supported. However, state-oriented decision makers rated passivity higher than action-oriented decision makers for the important decision of leaving a partner. State-oriented decision makers used perceptual/cognitive scenario representations to a greater extent than action-oriented participants. Finally, it was stressed that in the development of decision theories it is essential to find theoretical representations as close as possible to how decision makers themselves represent the decisions. The method used in this contribution is focused on the role of memory in decision making and gives further insights into how important real-life decisions are represented by different decision makers.


  • Psychology


  • ISSN: 1464-0686

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