Seeking and Avoiding Choice Closure to Enhance Outcome Satisfaction

54 Pages Posted: 1 May 2018 Last revised: 30 May 2018

See all articles by Yangjie Gu

Yangjie Gu

HEC Paris

Simona Botti

London Business School

David Faro

London Business School

Date Written: April 12, 2018

Abstract

Consumers gain choice closure when they perceive a sense of finality over a past decision and limit comparisons between the selected and the forgone options. We investigate consumers’ ability to make strategic use of choice closure to enhance outcome satisfaction. Seven studies show that consumers experience greater satisfaction when they achieve choice closure with an inferior outcome and when they do not achieve choice closure with a superior outcome; however, they expect to be more satisfied by avoiding choice closure with an inferior outcome and by seeking it with a superior outcome. We provide a rationale for this experience–expectation contrast based on rule overgeneralization. Consumers form their expectation on an implicit rule learned and internalized in a context in which it is appropriate and advantageous: when they aim to increase satisfaction with a future choice; however, consumers erroneously apply the same implicit rule to a different context, one in which they aim to increase satisfaction with a past choice. We conclude that consumers are unlikely to be able to make strategic use of choice closure to enhance satisfaction with the outcome of a decision they have made.

Keywords: choice closure, outcome valence, satisfaction, prediction error, rule overgeneralization

Suggested Citation

Gu, Yangjie and Botti, Simona and Faro, David, Seeking and Avoiding Choice Closure to Enhance Outcome Satisfaction (April 12, 2018). Journal of Consumer Research, Forthcoming; HEC Paris Research Paper No. MKG-2018-1274. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3161310

Yangjie Gu (Contact Author)

HEC Paris ( email )

1 Rue De La Libération,
Jouy-en-Josas Cedex, 78351
France

Simona Botti

London Business School ( email )

Sussex Place
London, London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom
442070008646 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.london.edu

David Faro

London Business School ( email )

Sussex Place
Regents
London, London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.london.edu

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