Navigation Links
Psychology researcher finds that second-guessing one's decisions leads to unhappiness
Date:12/15/2011

You're in search of a new coffee maker, and the simple quest becomes, well, an ordeal. After doing copious amounts of research and reading dozens of consumer reviews, you finally make a purchase, only to wonder: "Was this the right choice? Could I do better? What is the return policy?"

Reality check: Is this you?

If so, new research from Florida State University may shed some light on your inability to make a decision that you'll be happy with.

Joyce Ehrlinger, an assistant professor of psychology, has long been fascinated with individuals identified among psychologists as "maximizers." Maximizers tend to obsess over decisions big or small and then fret about their choices later. "Satisficers," on the other hand, tend to make a decision and then live with it.

Happily.

Of course, there are shades of gray. In fact, there's a whole continuum of ways people avoid commitment without really avoiding it.

Ehrlinger's latest research on decision making was published in the peer-reviewed journal Personality and Individual Differences. The paper, "Failing to Commit: Maximizers Avoid Commitment in a Way That Contributes to Reduced Satisfaction," was co-authored with her graduate student, doctoral candidate Erin Sparks, and colleague Richard Eibach, a psychology assistant professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. It examines whether "maximizers show less commitment to their choices than satisficers in a way that leaves them lesssatisfied with their choices."

The paper, based on two studies of Florida State undergraduate volunteers, finds that the maximizers' focus on finding the best option ultimately undermines their commitment to their final choices. As a result, the authors argue, "maximizers miss out on the psychological benefits of commitment," leaving them less satisfied than their more contented counterparts, the satisficers.

Past research into the differences between maximizers and satisficers looked at how the two groups made choices differently and, more importantly, how the process itself varied. Ehrlinger's research, however, looked at something else entirely: What happened after a choice was made?

"Because maximizers want to be certain they have made the right choice," the authors contend, "they are less likely to fully commit to a decision." And most likely, they are less happy in their everyday lives.

Whether being a maximizer is a central and stable part of the personality or simply a frame of mind remains unclear, but Ehrlinger hopes to isolate the cause of the behavior in future research.

"Current research is trying to understand whether they can change," she said. "High-level maximizers certainly cause themselves a lot of grief."

Over the years, Ehrlinger's scholarly research has led her to study self-perception and accuracy and error in self-judgment. Her latest research into the ways maximizers avoid commitment is important for several reasons.

First, the differences between maximizers and satisficers may play a bigger role than previously thought in consumer decision making and purchasing. For example: "Maximizers get nervous when they see an 'All Sales Are Final' sign because it forces them to commit," Ehrlinger said.

Also, a maximizer's lack of contentment creates a lot of stress, so the trait could potentially have an enormous effect on health, Ehrlinger explained. It's not just coffee-maker purchases they stress over and second-guess themselves about it's also the big life decisions such as choosing a mate, buying a house or applying for a job.

Even after considerable deliberation before choosing a mate or a house, a high-level maximizer may still feel unhappy, even depressed, with his or her final decision.

"Identifying the 'right' choice can be a never-ending task (for a maximizer)," Ehrlinger and her co-authors write. "Feelings about which option is best can always change in the face of new information. Maximizers might be unable to fully embrace a choice because they cannot be absolutely certain they chose the best possible option."


'/>"/>
Contact: Joyce Ehrlinger
jehrlinger@fsu.edu
850-645-7418
Florida State University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. UCSB psychology professors study gene-culture interaction
2. Science showcase presents psychologys hands-on benefits
3. Climate change psychology: Coping and creating solutions
4. Wiley hosts developmental psychology roundtable at SRCD
5. Psychology for medicine -- a brand new outlook
6. SAGE to publish Psychology of Women Quarterly
7. Womens unique connection to nature is explored in special issue of Ecopsychology
8. Penns Positive Psychology Center awards $2.9 million for research
9. Mind over matter? The psychology of healing
10. Food Psychology Coaches Launch New Weight Loss Program for Ultimate Life Fitness Results
11. Self-Psychology Allows You to Carry A Cognitive Behavioral Therapist On Your iPhone
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Psychology researcher finds that second-guessing one's decisions leads to unhappiness
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... September 21, 2017 , ... Hair ... new member survey conducted by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery ... to 2016 rose 60 percent, with 635,189 procedures performed in 2016. , ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... September 21, 2017 , ... ... eat right or exercise more try taking a more holistic approach and use ... Aweganic’s new Amazon essential oil collection is certified USDA guaranteeing that, the new ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Preora Diagnostics Inc. , a privately ... received two prestigious recognitions that acknowledge the promise of its PWS Nanoctyology platform ... been named a Top 100 Finalist for the 16th annual Chicago Innovation Awards ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... September 21, 2017 , ... FlipBelt, the fitness brand ... to detail to the athletic wear market with the launch of their FlipBelt Crops. ... have their essentials securely at their fingertips while at the gym, on the trail, ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... September 21, 2017 , ... In ... and Clark College Emeritus Professor of Education Gregory A. Smith examines student privacy ... Asleep at the Switch: Schoolhouse Commercialism, Privacy, and the Failure of Policymaking . ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/5/2017)... , Sept. 5, 2017 Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc. ... ), a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on the development ... has successfully concluded its meeting with the U.S. Food ... oral insulin formulation. ... the regulatory pathway for submission of ORMD-0801, would be ...
(Date:9/1/2017)... 1, 2017  Explorers Like Us ( https://explorerslikeus.com/ ) is ... experiences — and deliver these experiences as part of Life ... feel and heal better. ... While nothing beats a walk, jog or simply ... Life Environments™ is the next best thing when getting there ...
(Date:8/31/2017)... NEW YORK , Aug. 31, 2017 ... the industry,s must-read guide to the latest innovations happening ... the first industry publication to focus on providing a ... advancements. Ultimately, the issue covers the most innovative companies, ... year. "Everyone in ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: