How Prevalent is Post-Decision Dissonance? Some Doubts and New Evidence
AbstractRecent research is exploring the case for cognitive or post-decision dissonance using the free-choice paradigm of Brehm (1956). Participants are repeatedly faced with a choice between items that they have given the same rating of liking, two items at a time, and it is found that items not chosen in one choice has a lower tendency of being chosen in a subsequent choice against a different alternative item. This tendency is interpreted as evidence for cognitive or post-decision dissonance. I argue that this interpretation of the evidence is invalid. Furthermore, I report a novel experiment in which participants were specifically asked to compare the items, allowing for a consistent interpretation of the evidence. I find no evidence of post-decision dissonance after a choice between items where one was viewed as more attractive than the other, but potentially some weak evidence of post-decision dissonance after a choice between items viewed as equally attractive.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Oslo University, Department of Economics in its series Memorandum with number 18/2009.
Length: 8 pages
Date of creation: 30 Aug 2009
Date of revision:
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post-decision dissonance; cognitive dissonance; preferences;
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- D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Economics; Underlying Principles
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- NEP-ALL-2010-02-13 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2010-02-13 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-EXP-2010-02-13 (Experimental Economics)
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