Search Paradox: the Role of Feature Alignability in the Rise and Fall of Satisfaction

Jill Griffin, University of Evansville, U.S.A.
Susan Broniarczyk, University of Texas at Austin, U.S.A.
This research challenges the notion that increased search effort results in greater satisfaction with the choice. The results of two studies demonstrate that people are more inclined to continue searching when options are nonalignable compared to alignable. Although initial search increases consumers’ probability of finding a good match to their preferences, further search among nonalignable options decreases desires congruency, causing people to feel worse about their choices in environments where tradeoffs are inherent. This dual effect of search on satisfaction causes people to experience an initial increase and then decline (inverted U shape) in satisfaction. This research demonstrates the paradox that people search more options precisely when further search is detrimental to subjective choice outcomes.
[ to cite ]:
Jill Griffin and Susan Broniarczyk (2007) ,"Search Paradox: the Role of Feature Alignability in the Rise and Fall of Satisfaction", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34, eds. Gavan Fitzsimons and Vicki Morwitz, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 480-482.