Focusing on Desirability: The Effect of Decision Interruption and Suspension on Preferences

13 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2008 Last revised: 23 Jan 2011

Wendy Liu

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management

Date Written: January 20, 2011

Abstract

This research examines the phenomenon of interruptions and suspensions in decision making. It is proposed that information processing may change from a bottom-up data-driven to a top-down goal-directed mode after an interruption, thereby affecting preferences. In particular, in decisions involving desirability and feasibility conflicts, because desirability is a superordinate goal to feasibility, four studies found that when a decision is interrupted and later resumed, people become more likely to favor a highly desirable but less feasible consumption, such as a high-risk high-reward option, or a high-quality high-price option. A reduced focus on feasibility is found to underlie this effect.

Keywords: Preference, Choice, Interruption, Decision Making, Goals, Risk, Price Sensitivity, Desirability Feasibility, Construal Level, Psychological Distance, Top-down Processing, Bottom-up Processing

Suggested Citation

Liu, Wendy, Focusing on Desirability: The Effect of Decision Interruption and Suspension on Preferences (January 20, 2011). Journal of Consumer Research, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1086830

Wendy Liu (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Rady School of Management
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

HOME PAGE: http://management.ucsd.edu/faculty/directory/wendy-liu/

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