Decision Amnesia: Why Taking Your Time Leads to Forgetting

Zoe Chance, Harvard University
Michael I. Norton, Harvard University
This research reveals a novel means of coping with conflicted choices: forgetting them altogether. Because difficult decisions are the most psychically costly, people are most likely to demonstrate this decision amnesia for decisions they spend longest considering. In a series of studies, we show that decision difficulty impairs both memory for choices and even memory for having made a decision at all: The longer participants were exposed to choice sets, the less likely they were to remember ever having seen them. Thus rather than cope with the agony of regret, people may simply forget.
[ to cite ]:
Zoe Chance and Michael I. Norton (2008) ,"Decision Amnesia: Why Taking Your Time Leads to Forgetting", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 55-58.