The impact of the maximizing mindset on decision time

2017-04-05

Speaker£ºDr MA Jingjing(National School of Development at Peking University)

Time£º9:30-11:30 April 14,2017(Friday)

Site£ºB131

Abstract£º Prior research has shown that a maximizing decision strategy pushes people to take longer to make a decision. However, using a mindset priming manipulation, we show that this effect depends on choice complexity: maximizing prolongs decisions only for complex choices, but quickens decisions for simple choices. Two mechanisms account for this effect. First, decision time varies with the number of comparisons made; because complex choices involve more potential comparisons, maximizing increases decision time by increasing number of comparisons to a greater extent for complex than simple choices. Second, decision time is negatively related to the speed with which each comparison is made. Maximizing thus reduces decision time for simple choice mainly because it reduces comparison time, but maximizing increases decision time because the effect of increased number of comparisons overwhelms the effect of quickened comparison time. As revealed by eye-tracking, maximizing reduces comparison time in part because it promotes a more structured visual search among choice options. The present research thus clarifies the current understanding of the relation between maximizing and decision dynamics.