Elastic Justification: How Tempting but Task-Irrelevant Factors Influence Decisions

Organizational Behavioral and Human Decision Process, Vol. 62, No. 3, 1995

8 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2006  

Christopher K. Hsee

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business

Abstract

This research is concerned with task-oriented decision situations where the decision maker faces two options, one superior on a factor directly related to the given task(called the A factor) and the other superior on a factor not central to the accomplishment of the task but tempting to the decision maker(called the B factor). According to the classic justification notion, the decision maker may find it unjustifiable to choose the B-superior option over the A-superior option if there is no uncertainty in the A values of the two options, but will construct a justification and become more likely to choose the B-superior option if there is uncertainty. In support of this proposition, two experiments employing a simulated decision situation found that subjects were indeed more likely to choose the B-superior option when there was uncertainty in the A factor than when there was not, no matter whether the uncertainty resided in one of the options(Experiment 1) or in both options (Experiment 2).

Keywords: elastic justification, affect, ambiguity

JEL Classification: D81, D11, D12, D91

Suggested Citation

Hsee, Christopher K., Elastic Justification: How Tempting but Task-Irrelevant Factors Influence Decisions. Organizational Behavioral and Human Decision Process, Vol. 62, No. 3, 1995. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=933980

Christopher K. Hsee (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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