Not My Type: Why Affective Decision-Makers Are Reluctant to Make Financial Decisions

22 Pages Posted: 11 May 2017 Last revised: 27 May 2018

Jane Park

University of Florida, Warrington College of Business Administration, Students

Aner Sela

University of Florida - Marketing Department

Date Written: May 10, 2017

Abstract

Why are people often uncomfortable dealing with financial decisions? We propose that people perceive financial decisions – more so than decisions in many other equally complex and important domains – as compatible with a cold, analytical mode of thinking and as incompatible with feelings and emotions. Consequently, the more people perceive themselves as inclined to rely on affect in their decisions, the more they experience self-concept incongruity with financial decisions (i.e., feeling that financial decisions are “not them”), and consequently show an increased tendency to avoid such decisions. Five studies demonstrate this phenomenon using both consequential and hypothetical decisions, provide evidence for the proposed mechanism, and rule out alternative accounts, including perceived financial knowledge, expertise and self-efficacy perceptions, decision confidence, and preference for numerical information. The findings contribute to research on thinking styles and decision avoidance, and they underscore a characteristic of financial decisions that makes them stand out among many other decision types. In addition to their theoretical significance, the findings have practical implications for the communication of financial products and services.

Keywords: Financial decisions, thinking styles, decision avoidance, analytical thinking, emotions

Suggested Citation

Park, Jane and Sela, Aner, Not My Type: Why Affective Decision-Makers Are Reluctant to Make Financial Decisions (May 10, 2017). Journal of Consumer Research, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2966299 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2966299

Jane Park (Contact Author)

University of Florida, Warrington College of Business Administration, Students ( email )

Gainesville, FL
United States

Aner Sela

University of Florida - Marketing Department ( email )

267F Stuzin Hall
Gainesville, FL 32611
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/view/anersela/home

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