Ironic Effects of Goal Activation on Choice

Kelly Goldsmith, Northwestern University, USA
Ravi Dhar, Yale University, USA
Consumers hold multiple goals, some of which may conflict. This project explores how choices in the service of one goal (e.g., indulgence) are impacted when a conflicting goal (e.g., health) is incidentally activated prior to the decision. Our work reveals that consumers experiencing such goal conflict become more likely to choose options that are easier to justify. This can lead to ironic results when the option that is easier to justify poses greater conflict to the incidentally activated goal. A series of studies support this proposed process, demonstrating boundary conditions and moderators.
[ to cite ]:
Kelly Goldsmith and Ravi Dhar (2010) ,"Ironic Effects of Goal Activation on Choice", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 259-262 .