نقش انگیزش معرفتی در پاسخ افراد به پیچیدگی تصمیم گیری
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|5130||2013||14 صفحه PDF||39 صفحه WORD|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Volume 121, Issue 1, May 2013, Pages 104–117
انتخاب های پیچیده: ویژگی ها
کیفیت ذهنی تصمیم گیری
انگیزه معرفتی در تصمیم گیری های پیچیده
مشترکات و تفاوت های بین گزینه ها و ویژگی ها
نیاز به خاتمه شناخت
خودفرمان در برابر مطابقت
شرکت کنندگان و رویه
ارزش های خودفرمان (پذیرابودن) و انطباق (حفاظت)
نتایج و بحث
Integrating findings on the effects of more alternatives with findings on the effects of more attributes, we offer a motivational decision-making model, suggesting that epistemic motivation moderates individuals’ responses to complex information. Study 1 empirically investigated the shared essence of four conceptualizations of epistemic motivation, further distinguishing it from the maximizing/satisficing motivation. A series of experiments indicate that epistemic motivation moderates the effect of complex information on one’s discomfort with a decision (Studies 2–4) and on the tendency to implement one’s choice in action (Study 3). Taken together, our findings indicate that individuals with low epistemic motivation experience more discomfort and are less likely to implement their decision when faced with complex information whereas those high on epistemic motivation portray a weaker or even an opposite effect. The consistent findings across conceptualizations (dispositional Need-for-Cognitive-Closure and manipulated Openness vs. Conservation values) indicate the robustness of the findings and the important role of epistemic motivation in complex decisions.
A growing body of research indicates that a large assortment of alternatives and a large amount of information regarding each alternative (i.e., attributes) may cause people to be less comfortable with their decision and hinder their tendency to act upon it and implement it. But not all people react the same way: Some people are especially vulnerable to complex information, experiencing it as overwhelming. Other people may consider this complexity to be a wealth of welcome knowledge. The current research aims to reveal some of the mechanisms underlying the effects of complex information in the form of many alternatives and many attributes. Taking a motivational perspective, we suggest that the outcomes of a complex decision are moderated by epistemic motivation: the motivation to engage in deep thinking. We start by reviewing research on information complexity in the form of multiple alternatives and multiple attributes. We then discuss the role of epistemic motivation as a mechanism underlying the documented effects of information complexity. We elaborate on the nature of epistemic motivation and provide empirical evidence to support its theoretical meaning across specific conceptualizations. We then present a series of experiments providing evidence for the role of epistemic motivation in moderating individuals’ responses to complex information. We show that the subjective quality of complex decisions is moderated by epistemic motivation. We further indicate the behavioral consequences of epistemic motivation, showing that it affects the likelihood of implementing one’s decision. Finally, we explain how the concept of epistemic motivation helps clarify the differences between complexity due to attributes and due to alternatives.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The current research takes a motivational perspective, suggesting that the unfavorable effect of decision complexity is moderated by epistemic motivation. In studying complex decisions, we focused on decisions in which there is no objectively “correct” choice, and the “best” choice is the one that is most appealing to the decision-maker. Hence, it is the subjective quality of the decision that really matters. We investigated this subjective quality in two ways. First, participants reported their discomfort with the decision (Studies 2–4). In addition, we studied participants’ implementation of their decision as a behavioral indicator of its subjective quality (Study 3). Participants were offered the opportunity of entering a lottery for the product (camera) they preferred, and their actual behavior (i.e., going to the store) was measured. The moderating role of epistemic motivation in complex choices In this era of information revolution, people are often confronted with large amounts of information. In three experiments (Studies 2–4) we showed that the impact of information complexity on the subjective quality of complex decisions is moderated by epistemic motivation. Across the three studies, this moderating effect was pronounced for complexity due to more attributes: Participants low on epistemic motivation (whether measured or manipulated) reported more discomfort with their decision when presented with more attributes (Studies 2–4). They were also less likely to implement their decision and go to the camera store when presented with more information (Study 3). In contrast, participants high on epistemic motivation did not report greater discomfort due to more attributes, and sometimes displayed the opposite pattern – implementing their decision more often when confronted with more information (Study 3) and reporting more discomfort in the fewer-attributes conditions (Study 2), especially when the number of alternatives was low (Study 4). We reasoned that, due to the different nature of the information provided by alternatives and attributes, epistemic motivation should have a stronger moderating effect for discomfort due to attributes than that due to alternatives. The findings are consistent with this pattern. When the larger choice set was extensive (Studies 2 and 3), all participants reported increased discomfort, regardless of their motivation (main effect for alternatives). When the number of alternatives in the larger choice set was reduced (Study 4), a moderating effect of epistemic motivation was revealed when participants high on epistemic motivation reported less discomfort due to more alternatives when fewer attributes were presented. Thus, taking motivation into account highlights both commonalities and differences between the two forms of information complexity. Research on epistemic motivation and information processing often uses manipulations that create situations in which epistemic motivation is elicited (time pressure, memory tasks, solving anagrams while deliberating). These manipulations affect both the ability and the motivation to process information. The manipulation used in Studies 3 and 4 implicitly affected epistemic motivation without affecting the participants’ ability to process the information. Thus, this manipulation helped tease apart the effect of motivation from that of ability, making it possible to test the moderating role of motivation per se. Since a moderation effect was found with a subtle, implicit manipulation, the moderating role of epistemic motivation might actually be even stronger. Moreover, it indicates that slight changes in the decision-making context can raise (or lower) epistemic motivation. Future studies could explore conditions that encourage greater epistemic motivation in decision-making and discover how these conditions can help individuals cope with complex choices. We argue that epistemic motivation moderates individuals’ responses to complex information, suggesting that more information could be welcomed by those high on epistemic motivation but aversive to those low on epistemic motivation. One may argue that epistemic motivation influences merely the effort exerted in the decision process rather than the individual’s genuine interest in more knowledge. If that were the case, based on the effort/accuracy framework (Payne et al., 1993), individuals should make different choices in the different motivational conditions, with possibly more “accurate” choices made under high epistemic motivation. However, supplementary analysis reveals no significant differences between the distributions of choices made under the different motivational conditions.4 This suggests that, when confronted with complex information, everyone exerts the necessary effort (whether they are high or low on epistemic motivation), but while those high on epistemic motivation welcome the new knowledge gained through this effort, those low on epistemic motivation resent putting in so much effort. Future studies could further investigate the interplay between epistemic motivation and effort in decision making. Studying the effects of complex information we focused on the subjective quality of the decision. Drawing on past research, we used self-report measures that focus on the difficulty of choice and the tendency to regret it. The reliability of the scales we used to measure discomfort was not always satisfactory (especially when we used a shortened version in Study 4). A desired line for future research is enhancing the measurement of this dependent variable. Future studies could go beyond psychometric issues and investigate the meaning of this psychological construct. Alternatives and attributes Recent research has indicated that although a large assortment may allow individuals to better maximize their utility function, having to choose one of many alternatives may actually lead to inferior outcomes (see Gourville & Soman, 2005 for a review; see also Schwartz, 2004a). The findings of the above studies are consistent with this phenomenon: Choosing one of 12 cellphones (Study 2) or 12 cameras (Study 3) resulted in greater reported discomfort with the decision compared to choosing from a smaller choice set (6 cellphones or 3 cameras). This main effect did not occur when the choice set was reduced (9 vs. 3 cameras in Study 4). Instead, epistemic motivation moderated the effect of the number of alternatives in the smaller choice set situation, showing that nine alternatives increased discomfort among those low, but not those high, on epistemic motivation (Study 4). Alternatives and attributes may be interlinked. Such is the case when adding an alternative to the choice set also adds a new, non-comparable, attribute, resulting in a non-alignable choice set (Zhang & Markman, 2001). The studies of the current project focused mainly on alignable attributes – attributes that provide comparable information across the alternatives (see Appendix A). For example, you can compare the shape of cellphones – they are either bar, slider or flip. Since we provided the information about the alternatives in the form of a table, one may claim that all our attributes are alignable (see Appendix A). Gourville and Soman (2005) suggest that, compared to non-alignable attributes, alignable attributes are a less complex form of information and pose less difficulty. Future studies could investigate whether the moderating effect of epistemic motivation is even more pronounced in non-alignable choice sets. We reasoned that alternatives and attributes are two forms of information complexity. We further suggested that alternatives and attributes are fundamentally different. Our findings are consistent with this notion. Whereas all participants experienced discomfort with “more” alternatives, the effect of “more” attributes on reported discomfort with one’s decision was pronounced only for those low on epistemic motivation. Future research could explore whether people high on epistemic motivation cope better with more attributes altogether, or whether they too report discomfort with their decision when the number of attributes exceeds a certain threshold. Epistemic motivation: a family of motivations Epistemic motivation is a latent theoretical construct. Past research has suggested several conceptualizations of epistemic motivation (e.g., NFC, lack of NFCC). Drawing on a comprehensive theory of motivational goals, we suggested considering openness-to-change values and the (lack of) conservation values as two additional epistemic constructs. To the best of our knowledge, the present research is the first to empirically assess the epistemic nature of current and suggested conceptualizations of epistemic motivation. The findings of Study 1 indicate that the four conceptualizations are all interrelated, sharing a common latent epistemic factor. However, the findings also indicate that the four conceptualizations are not identical. Future studies could further investigate the communalities and differences among these epistemic constructs. To investigate the effect of epistemic motivation, several conceptualizations of it should be used. In this research we investigated NFCC (Study 2) and openness versus conservation values (Studies 3 and 4). The findings about the moderating role of epistemic motivation in complex decisions were remarkably consistent, regardless of the specific conceptualization of epistemic motivation. This consistency helps establish the notion that it is the epistemic nature that drives the moderating effect, and not the specific conceptualization under investigation. In Studies 2 and 4 an interesting finding emerged – participants lower on epistemic motivation reported less discomfort. This finding is consistent with previous findings indicating that lower epistemic motivation leads to greater certainty about one’s decision (Mayseless & Kruglanski, 1987). This finding was not replicated in Study 3, the only study in which the participants were told that they could try to implement their decision and had an incentive (the lottery) for making a good decision. People low on epistemic motivation – who are motivated to terminate information processing quickly – may make their decision faster than those high on epistemic motivation and then interpret this swift closure as an indicator of a good decision. When they were required to act on their decision (i.e., go to the camera store in Study 3), this mechanism was no longer effective and participants low on epistemic motivation reported discomfort. The decision context We studied two types of consumer decision: choosing a cellphone and choosing a digital camera. Both are complex consumer decisions – not only are there numerous brands and models, but also many core attributes must be taken into consideration. Not all consumption decisions are complex, however. Choosing chocolates or jams, for example, is typically based on only few core attributes. Although chocolates have many attributes (e.g., nutrition, country of manufacture, sweetness, texture), people typically choose based on only a few of them (e.g., type of chocolate, filling flavor). Would more attributes lead to discomfort in such simple decisions? We reason that when people choose among simple products, only a few core attributes are likely to affect their decision. Additional attributes, should there be any, are likely to be judged less relevant and are therefore not likely to be considered. Future studies could investigate this issue. The findings of the present research are limited to technological products. Technology provides people with new capabilities and at the same time challenges the world as we know it. Thus, technological products require consumers to adopt a host of psychological coping mechanisms (Mick & Fournier, 1998). Future studies may further explore whether and how alternatives, attributes and epistemic motivation interact to influence decisions in other areas (e.g., financial investment), as well as major real-life choices (e.g., choosing a career or a life partner). It is likely that the number of attributes and alternatives that become burdensome depends on the context and the decision type. Recent research has shown the downside of offering consumers too much choice and is now starting to explore moderators of the effect of assortment size on consumer decisions (Fasolo, Hertwig, Huber, & Ludwig, 2009). Taking a motivational perspective, this research suggests that epistemic motivation moderates the effect of information complexity due to attributes and alternatives. When complex information is inevitable, epistemic motivation may reduce people’s discomfort due to decision complexity.