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Willpower depletion and framing effects

Listed author(s):
  • de Haan, Thomas
  • van Veldhuizen, Roel
Registered author(s):

    One of the hallmark findings from behavioral economics is that choices are sensitive to the context they are presented in. However, the strength of such ‘framing effects’ varies between studies, and some studies fail to find any effect at all. A long line of research has argued that the presence and size of framing effects depend to a large extent on whether people use higher or lower-level mental decision making processes (or heuristics). A similarly important line of research in social psychology and economics suggests that higher-level mental processes such as self-control draw upon a limited pool of mental resources that can be exhausted. This study links these two lines of research and investigates whether depleting people's mental resources (or ‘willpower’) affects the degree to which they are susceptible to framing effects. In three separate experiments we depleted participants’ willpower using the commonly used Stroop task method and subsequently made them take part in a series of tasks, including a framed prisoner's dilemma, an attraction effect task and an anchoring effect task. However, though we find strong evidence of a framing effect in all three tasks, the strength of these effects is not affected by induced changes in the level of willpower depletion.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268115001651
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

    Volume (Year): 117 (2015)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 47-61

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:117:y:2015:i:c:p:47-61
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2015.06.002
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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