The Transience of Constructed Preferences
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, Forthcoming
15 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2007 Last revised: 16 Nov 2013
A large body of research suggests that preferences are constructed rather than merely accessed in the course of making decisions. The current research examines the stability of constructed preferences over time. Preferences for various factors relevant to a job choice were measured prior to presentation of the job choice task, at the point of decision, and again following a delay. It was found that relative to baseline pre-decision levels, preferences shifted to provide stronger support for the emerging decision. Preference changes proved to be transient, receding to baseline after one week (Ex. 1), and even within fifteen minutes (Ex. 2). These findings, which can be interpreted in terms of decision making by constraint satisfaction, suggest that preferences are constructed to serve the decision at hand, without constraining the decision maker in future decisions.
Keywords: decision making, psychology, construction of preferences, coherence
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