Decision Making; Affective and Cognitive Feelings; Psychological Distance; Social Psychology; Social Cognition
JafféMariela E., DounevaMaria, GreifenederRainer (2020), Solve the dilemma by spinning a penny? On using random decision-making aids, in Judgement and Decision Making
, 15(4), 561-571.
Jaffé Mariela E., Reutner Leonie, Greifeneder Rainer (2019), Catalyzing decisions: How a coin flip strengthens affective reactions, in PLOS ONE
, 14(8), e0220736-e0220736.
Douneva Maria, Jaffé Mariela E., Greifeneder Rainer (2019), Toss and turn or toss and stop? A coin flip reduces the need for information in decision-making, in Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
, 83, 132-141.
Individuals are faced with a multitude of decisions every day. Some decisions are clear-cut, but for others, individuals are torn between options. The present project investigates the pioneering notion of catalysing decisions. The term catalysis is borrowed from the natural sciences and is here used in the conceptual meaning of initiating, accelerating, or guiding the selectivity of the decision process. A catalyst is conceived of as a means or setting that renders a decision quasi-factual, that is, as if decided. Examples of catalysts include, but are not limited to: tossing a coin, counting-out rhymes, throwing a dice, considering a decision as already made, etc. While more than one option is usually viable before a decision is made, the catalyst presets a choice and thereby moves the decision from the realm of hypotheticality to the here and now. This change in psychological distance causes critical changes on the level of cognitive construal and of feelings. As a result, content information that existed but was not considered before may come to the forefront; moreover, feelings may be stronger and different in nature. Together these changes allow for a different perspective, which may help to arrive at a decision where individuals were undecided beforehand. The catalytic process is conceptualised to bring about change, which may often, but not invariably, result in better decisions; investigating favourable conditions is therefore critical. The project is structured along four objectives, with emphasis placed on underlying processes and boundary conditions. Using state-of-the-art social cognitive methodology and carefully designed experiments, the project will allow for conceptual contributions within the suggested framework and beyond; moreover, it will offer practical implications, given the many situations in which individuals are undecided, and the costs potentially associated with not deciding.