Effects of the Pre-Decision Stage of Decision Making on the Self-Regulation of Behavior
My dissertation consists of three essays that examine the effects of processes that take place in the pre-decision stage of decision-making on subsequent self-regulation. In my first essay I examine a new construct dealing with individuals' tendency to elaborate on potential future outcomes and develop a scale to measure it. Elaboration on potential outcomes captures the degree to which individuals generate positive and negative consequences of their behaviors, as well as the degree to which they evaluate the likelihood and importance of these consequences. I first develop the Elaboration on Potential Outcomes (EPO) scale and establish its factor structure, reliability and validity. I then investigate its relationships with conceptually related yet distinct consumer traits. Third, I examine its association with various consumer behaviors such as exercise of self-control, procrastination behaviors, compulsive buying, credit card debt, retirement investing, healthy lifestyle, and obesity. Finally, I show that peoples' tendency to think about potential outcomes predicts the type of information processing they engage in when making an important consumer decision, as well as the choices they make.
In my second essay I examine consumers' tendency to elaborate in potential outcomes in the context of investment behavior. In three studies I show that investors with a stronger chronic tendency to engage in pre-decision outcome elaboration are less likely to be affected by different types of descriptive variance effects, which emerge when individuals make different decisions as a function of how information is presented to them. Furthermore, I find that encouraging pre-decision elaboration on the pros and cons of investing helps investors who tend not to engage in such elaboration to become less influenced by peripheral cues such as information framing and presentation mode.
Finally, in my third essay I examine a different pre-decision process goal activation at different levels of abstraction. The main question I look at is whether activating high- vs. low-level goals by asking consumers to consider why they should achieve a goal rather than how they can achieve it might differentially affect their pursuit of this goal. In two studies I examine the interactive effects of decisional status (pre- or post-decisional) and goal hierarchy (high- vs. low-level goal activation) on several self-regulatory domains: goal commitment, anticipated effortful goal pursuit, and choice.
Advisor:George Loewenstein; Vikas Mittal; John Hulland; J. Jeffrey Inman; Maureen Morrin
School:University of Pittsburgh
School Location:USA - Pennsylvania
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:09/08/2006