Thinking Deeply: the Affective Costs of Elaborating on Too Much Choice

Simona Botti, London Business School, UK
Sheena Iyengar, Columbia University
Three studies examine how the size of an option set and the mode in which the options are processed influence the choice-making experience. Elaborative processing increases outcome confidence but depletes positive affect when consumers choose from extensive options. This poses a dilemma to consumers facing extensive choice: While elaborating on their options diminishes their positive mood, failing to elaborate diminishes their confidence in the chosen outcomes. This dilemma is resolved when considering repeated choices from the same sets: Preference learning ensures high confidence but reduces the amount of elaboration, resulting in improved positive affect for choosers confronted with large sets.
[ to cite ]:
Simona Botti and Sheena Iyengar (2008) ,"Thinking Deeply: the Affective Costs of Elaborating on Too Much Choice", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 201-204.