Maximizing tendency has been associated with greater accumulation of choice alternatives prior to selection of a preference. It is not known whether this search behavior extends to situations in which accumulation of new choice alternatives comes with the potential loss of existing ones. In Study 1, we replicate the original finding of greater accumulation of choice alternatives, using a computer-based laboratory task. We then provide evidence, in Studies 2 and 3, that when potential loss of existing options is incorporated into the task, maximization is associated with less rather than more search for additional options. Maximization components of decision difficulty and alternative search, but not high standards or satisficing, explain this behavior. Other task measures are also collected, but few maximization-related differences are observed. The findings support an interpretation of maximizers as decision makers who are as concerned with the potential loss of existing options as with the loss of undiscovered future ones.
Maximization and search for alternatives in decision situations with and without loss of optionsJournal of Behavioral Decision Making (2015)
Citation InformationPatalano, A. L., Weizenbaum, E. L., Lolli, S. L., & Anderson, A. (In press). Maximization and search for alternatives in decision situations with and without loss of options. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making.