Shifting Away From Discomfort: Managing Difficult Decisions Through Reconstruals

Stephanie M. Carpenter, University of Michigan, USA
J. Frank Yates, University of Michigan, USA
Stephanie D. Preston, University of Michigan, USA
Lydia Chen, University of Michigan, USA
A study of 59 undergraduates examined whether shifting preferences and weights over time to be consistent with a choice leaning (i.e., coherence shifting) reduced feelings of discomfort and decision difficulty. Physiological skin conductance responses (SCRs) were measured to assess discomfort. Participants rated the attribute desirability and importance weightings of two job offers at three different time points. Those who coherence shifted the most exhibited significantly lower SCRs than those who coherence shifted less, and coherence shifting was correlated with perceived decision difficulty. This suggests that difficult decisions can produce feelings of discomfort, which some individuals resolve with pre-decisional coherence shifting.
[ to cite ]:
Stephanie M. Carpenter, J. Frank Yates, Stephanie D. Preston, and Lydia Chen (2011) ,"Shifting Away From Discomfort: Managing Difficult Decisions Through Reconstruals", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 39, eds. Rohini Ahluwalia, Tanya L. Chartrand, and Rebecca K. Ratner, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 822-823.