Choosing what I want or keeping what I should: The effect of decision strategy on choice consistency

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9 Scopus citations


We examine decision-makers' consistency vis-à-vis their own priorities in a multi-choice task, using either an inclusion or exclusion strategy to reduce a set of alternatives. Four studies demonstrate that people's decisions are more consistent with their priorities when using an exclusion vs. an inclusion strategy to screen alternatives. Moreover, this effect was stronger for less knowledgeable than for more knowledgeable decision-makers. We examined two possible mechanisms behind this phenomenon. First, we suggest that the process of thinking about the positive aspects of the alternatives (associated with inclusion) encourages the decision-maker to more favorably evaluate options initially given low marks, resulting in less consistency with preferences. We also show that under exclusion, people tend to select the alternatives that they think they should choose, while under inclusion they tend to choose options that are more in line with what they would like to have but which may be perceived as luxuries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-139
Number of pages11
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2011


  • Choice strategy
  • Consistency
  • Multiple-choice task
  • Screening of options

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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