More Rational or More Emotional than Others? Lay Beliefs about Decision-Making Strategies

70 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2021

See all articles by Noah VanBergen

Noah VanBergen

University of Cincinnati

Nicholas H. Lurie

University of Connecticut School of Business

Zoey Chen

University of Miami

Date Written: March 31, 2021

Abstract

Research demonstrates that people utilize both reasoning and feeling in decision making and that both strategies can be advantageous. However, little is known about how people perceive their decision making relative to others. Despite research findings and popular appeals supporting the use of affective decision processes, across a series of studies, we find that individuals believe they rely more on reasoning, and less on feelings, than others. These effects are driven by the motivation to self-enhance where, in most contexts, individuals believe the use of reasoning is superior, and self-enhancing, compared to the use of feelings. Consistent with this mechanism, beliefs that one’s decisions are more rational than others’ are: (a) stronger for those who exhibit greater beliefs in the superiority of reasoning (vs. feeling), (b) attenuated when the decision context precludes motivational thinking about the self or the self is affirmed, and (c) reversed when the use of feelings is perceived as more self-enhancing. We demonstrate downstream consequences (e.g., decision delegation), rule out alternative explanations, and discuss practical implications of these lay beliefs.

Keywords: Decision making, interpersonal comparisons, rationality, biases, delegation

Suggested Citation

VanBergen, Noah and Lurie, Nicholas H. and Chen, Zoey, More Rational or More Emotional than Others? Lay Beliefs about Decision-Making Strategies (March 31, 2021). Journal of Consumer Psychology, University of Miami Business School Research Paper No. 3821054, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3821054

Noah VanBergen (Contact Author)

University of Cincinnati ( email )

United States

Nicholas H. Lurie

University of Connecticut School of Business ( email )

Storrs, CT CT - Connecticut 06269
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.business.uconn.edu/person/nicholas-lurie/

Zoey Chen

University of Miami ( email )

Miami, FL
United States

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