When Knowledge is Demotivating: Subjective Knowledge and Choice Overload

Posted: 27 Oct 2015

See all articles by Liat Hadar

Liat Hadar

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah - Adelson School of Entrepreneuship

Sanjay Sood

Independent

Date Written: July 2014

Abstract

People find it appealing to have more options to choose from, but the provision of choice often leads to adverse consequences for decision makers’ motivation, satisfaction, and willingness to act. We propose that the effect of the number of choice options on willingness to purchase is moderated by people’s subjective knowledge (SK). The results of three studies provide converging evidence that, paradoxically, people who feel unknowledgeable (low-SK people) in a certain domain are especially willing to purchase when more choice options are available, which is consistent with the notion of "more is better." This pattern is reversed for people who feel knowledgeable (high-SK people), which is consistent with prior evidence for choice overload. We also show that this pattern is influenced by the informativeness of the features of the available choice options and that subjective knowledge mediates this effect.

Keywords: subjective knowledge, choice-set size, choice overload

JEL Classification: D01

Suggested Citation

Hadar, Liat and Sood, Sanjay, When Knowledge is Demotivating: Subjective Knowledge and Choice Overload (July 2014). Psychological Science, Vol. 25, No. 9, 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2680124

Liat Hadar (Contact Author)

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah - Adelson School of Entrepreneuship ( email )

P.O. Box 167
Herzliya, 46150
Israel

Sanjay Sood

Independent ( email )

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