Tomorrow Will Be Better: the Effect of Optimism Bias on Choice of Goal Pursuit

Ying Zhang, University of Chicago
Ayelet Fishbach, University of Chicago
Ravi Dhar, Yale University

When Thinking Beats Doing: The Role of Optimistic Expectations on Goal-Based Choice

Ying Zhang, University of Chicago

Ayelet Fishbach, University of Chicago
Ravi Dhar, Yale University

Abstract

Would anticipating workout make you more or less likely to order pizza for dinner? We propose that optimism bias leads people to believe they’ll achieve more goal pursuit in the future than in the past, which is inferred either as higher commitment to the goal in the future or more progress will be made in the future. As a result, higher anticipated commitment leads to more goal-consistent actions whereas more anticipated progress justifies more disengagement from the goal. Three studies, including lab experiments and field studies, provide support for the predictions.

[ to cite ]:
Ying Zhang, Ayelet Fishbach, and Ravi Dhar (2006) ,"Tomorrow Will Be Better: the Effect of Optimism Bias on Choice of Goal Pursuit", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 33, eds. Connie Pechmann and Linda Price, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 57-59.