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Are maximizers really unhappy? The measurement of maximizing tendency


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  • Dalia L. Diab
  • Michael A. Gillespie
  • Scott Highhouse
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    Recent research suggesting that people who maximize are less happy than those who satisfice has received considerable fanfare. The current study investigates whether this conclusion reflects the construct itself or rather how it is measured. We developed an alternative measure of maximizing tendency that is theory-based, has good psychometric properties, and predicts behavioral outcomes. In contrast to the existing maximization measure, our new measure did not correlate with life (dis)satisfaction, nor with most maladaptive personality and decision-making traits. We conclude that the interpretation of maximizers as unhappy may be due to poor measurement of the construct. We present a more reliable and valid measure for future researchers to use.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Society for Judgment and Decision Making in its journal Judgment and Decision Making.

    Volume (Year): 3 (2008)
    Issue (Month): (June)
    Pages: 364-370

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    Handle: RePEc:jdm:journl:v:3:y:2008:i::p:364-370

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    Related research

    Keywords: maximize; satisfice; decision making; life satisfaction; construct validation.;


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    Cited by:
    1. Beja, Edsel Jr., 2012. "Drawing out the Satisficer from the Maximizer," MPRA Paper 39355, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Betty E. Tanius & Stacey Wood & Yaniv Hanoch & Thomas Rice, 2009. "Aging and choice: Applications to Medicare Part D," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 4(1), pages 92-101, February.
    3. Brandon M. Turner & Hye Bin Rim & Nancy E. Betz & Thomas E. Nygren, 2012. "The Maximization Inventory," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 7(1), pages 48-60, January.
    4. Hye Bin Rim & Brandon M. Turner & Nancy E. Betz & Thomas E. Nygren, 2011. "Studies of the dimensionality, correlates, and meaning of measures of the maximizing tendency," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 6(6), pages 565-579, August.
    5. Nicole M. Giacopelli & Kaila M. Simpson & Reeshad S. Dalal & Kristen L. Randolph & Samantha J. Holland, 2013. "Maximizing as a predictor of job satisfaction and performance: A tale of three scales," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 8(4), pages 448-469, July.
    6. Ali Besharat & Daniel Ladik & François Carrillat, 2014. "Are maximizers blind to the future? When today’s best does not make for a better tomorrow," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 77-91, March.
    7. Konstantinos V. Katsikopoulos & Cherng-Horng (Dan) Lan, 2011. "Herbert Simon’s spell on judgment and decision making," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 6(8), pages 722-732, December.
    8. Justin M. Weinhardt & Brendan J. Morse & Janna Chimeli, 2012. "An item response theory and factor analytic examination of two prominent maximizing tendency scales," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 7(5), pages 644-658, September.


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