Evaluating alternatives and comparing them to each other are integral to decision-making. In addition, however, decision makers may adopt a view that goes beyond choice and make inferences about the entire set of alternatives, about the dimensions that are relevant in similar decisions, and about the range of values on a specific dimension. We examined some antecedents and consequences of adopting a beyond-choice view of decision situations. Based on Construal Level Theory we suggest that a beyond-choice view entails high (vs. low) level of construal of the decision situation and hence is more likely to occur for decisions that are more psychologically distant. We further suggest that a consequence of a beyond-choice view might be a later difficulty to remember which attribute belongs to which alternative. To examine these predictions we conducted an experiment in which participants evaluated decision scenarios that were described as being relevant for the distant (vs. the near) future. One day later they answered a decision-related source recognition test in which they were asked to remember which attribute belongs to which alternative. As predicted, people had more source-memory errors in the distant than in the near future condition. These results suggest that a beyond-choice view of decision situations is an important consequence of psychological distance (vs. proximity).
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Lior Porat and Yael Keren for their help with data collection. This study was supported by Grant # 51/11 by the I-CORE Program of the Planning and Budgeting Committee and The Israel Science Foundation.
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.
- Construal level theory
- Decision making
- Source memory errors
- Temporal distance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)