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Change and status quo in decisions with defaults: The effect of incidental emotions depends on the type of default

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  • Yury Shevchenko
  • Bettina von Helversen
  • Benjamin Scheibehenne

Abstract

Affective states can change how people react to measures aimed at influencing their decisions such as providing a default option. Previous research has shown that when defaults maintain the status quo positive mood increases reliance on the default and negative mood decreases it. Similarly, it has been demonstrated that positive mood enhances the preference for inaction. We extend this research by investigating how mood states influence reliance on the default if the default leads to a change, thus pitting preference for status quo against a preference for inaction. Specifically, we tested in an online study how happiness and sadness influenced reliance on two types of default (1) a default maintaining status quo and (2) a default inducing change. Our results suggest that the effect of emotions depends on the type of default: people in a happy mood were more likely than sad people to follow a default when it maintained status quo but less likely to follow a default when it introduced change. These results are in line with mood maintenance theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Yury Shevchenko & Bettina von Helversen & Benjamin Scheibehenne, 2014. "Change and status quo in decisions with defaults: The effect of incidental emotions depends on the type of default," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 9(3), pages 287-296, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:jdm:journl:v:9:y:2014:i:3:p:287-296
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Marco Becht & Yuliya Kamisarenka & Anete Pajuste, 2018. "Loyalty Shares with Tenure Voting - a Coasian bargain? Evidence from the Loi Florange Experiment," Working Papers ECARES 2018-10, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. Steven Verheyen & Wouter Voorspoels & Gert Storms, 2015. "Inferring choice criteria with mixture IRT models: A demonstration using ad hoc and goal-derived categories," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 10(1), pages 97-114, January.

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