Wanting Versus Choosing: a Disconnect Between What Moves Us and What We Prefer

Cynthia Cryder, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
Elizabeth Mullen, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
George Loewenstein, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
The rewards that we choose may not be the rewards that motivate us to act. Across three studies, when rewards were offered individually, hedonically appealing want incentives such as lotteries and chocolate were equally or more motivating than practical should incentives, such as sure cash payments. In direct choices between rewards, however, practical incentives were more popular. These findings challenge the assumption, implicit in both research and business practice, that stated preferences among incentives predict their relative motivational impact.
[ to cite ]:
Cynthia Cryder, Elizabeth Mullen, and George Loewenstein (2010) ,"Wanting Versus Choosing: a Disconnect Between What Moves Us and What We Prefer", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 288-291 .