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Choice reversibility and search behavior

By Shelly Moshenberg
Location Bloomfield 527
Advisor(s): Dr. Kinneret Teodorescu
Academic Program: BS
Wednesday 10 October 2018, 10:30 - 11:30

In general, people prefer to have the option to revise their decision (Gilbert & Ebert ,2002). However, previous research has demonstrated that a reversible choice results in low satisfaction compared to the irreversible one (Hanfner, White & Handley, 2012; Gilbert & Ebert, 2002; Bullens, Harreveld & Forster, 2011). Moreover, even though people have the option to revise their choice, researchers found that they scarcely exploit it (e.g., Bullens, van Harreveld, Förster, & van der Pligt, 2013; Gilbert & Ebert, 2002).  Although previous research has examined this topic from varied aspects, all dealt with the decision-maker's feelings and performance after the decision has been made and in fact, there have not been any studies that provide insight into the decision itself. In the current study, we hypothesized and found that knowing ahead that a decision is reversible leads people to search less before making a (reversible) choice, and that such under-search results in impaired performance when the choice environment includes rare events (compared with an irreversible condition). In addition, only half of the participants who had the option to revise their choice, actually did so (which supports the findings of Bullens et al).