Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Focalism in Evaluations of Consumer Choice

Consumers are frequently called upon to evaluate the quality of their decisions. Logically, that quality is a function not only of the option chosen, but the option(s) rejected as well. The research presented here, however, suggests that when consumers evaluate the quality of a decision they focus on the features of the option chosen more than the features of the option(s) rejected (even when they are known). As a result, decisions tend to be deemed wise when the chosen option is positive and foolish when it is negative—occasionally even when the rejected option(s) are just as positive or negative.


Justin Kruger and Jeremy Burrus (2007) ,"Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Focalism in Evaluations of Consumer Choice", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34, eds. Gavan Fitzsimons and Vicki Morwitz, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 216-220.


Justin Kruger, New York University, USA
Jeremy Burrus, Columbia University, USA


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34 | 2007

Share Proceeding

Featured papers

See More


Trusting the data, the self and “the other” in self tracking practices

Dorthe Brogård Kristensen, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark

Read More


Effects of Affective Language on Perceived Helpfulness of Online Reviews

Nikolay Georgiev, HEC Paris, France
Marc Vanhuele, HEC Paris, France

Read More


Promoting Well-being and Combating Harassment in the Academy

Ekant Veer, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Zeynep Arsel, Concordia University, Canada
June Cotte, Ivey Business School
Jenna Drenten, Loyola University Chicago, USA
Markus Geisler, York University, Canada
Lauren Gurrieri, RMIT University
Julie L. Ozanne, University of Melbourne, Australia
Nicholas Pendarvis, California State University Los Angeles, USA
Andrea Prothero, University College Dublin
Minita Sanghvi, Skidmore College
Rajiv Vaidyanathan, University of Minnesota Duluth, USA
Stacy Wood, North Carolina State University

Read More

Engage with Us

Becoming an Association for Consumer Research member is simple. Membership in ACR is relatively inexpensive, but brings significant benefits to its members.