People commonly make decisions and choices that could be delayed until a later time. This investigation examines two factors that may be especially important in these types of decisions: resource stability and comparison target. I propose that these two factors interact to affect whether individuals tend to adopt a delay strategy or whether they engage in more present-oriented strategy. Specifically, this thesis study tested whether picturing one’s ideal led to the adoption of a delay strategy to a greater extent when resources were stable and to a lesser extent when resources were unstable. Participants read a house-hunting scenario in which the market was stable or unstable, and either pictured their ideal house at the beginning of the task or did not. As expected, participants in the stable housing market were more willing to delay choosing a house, though the predicted interaction between resource stability and comparison target did not emerge. Contrary to the predictions, however, participants who pictured their ideal house were more willing to choose a house immediately and were more satisfied with the house they chose. Overall, these findings did not lend support to the main argument of this investigation that picturing one’s ideal would promote a delay strategy under stable resource conditions. The finding that participants preferred immediate choice after picturing their ideal may have interesting implications for persuasion and advertising.
- The effect of comparison target and resource stability on delay strategies in decision making
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Statement of Responsibility
by Robert Mark Adelman