When Choice Is A Double-Edged Sword: Understanding Maximizers' Paradoxical Experiences With Choice

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Personality And Individual Differences


Why do maximizers—those who seek to make the very best choice by exhaustively searching out and comparing alternatives—place such high value on choice in the face of so much regret, dissatisfaction, and stress during the choice process? In five studies (total N = 1479), we drew on the two-component model of maximizing to better understand this maximization paradox. Distinguishing between the goal of choosing the best and the strategy of alternative search, we found that the two components of maximizing predicted opposing experiences with choice—the maximization goal was related to positive experiences with and beliefs about choice, whereas the maximization strategy was related to negative experiences with and beliefs about choice. Considering the two components of maximizing separately thus helps explain why maximizers have both more positive and more negative reactions to choice than do satisficers.


Maximizing, Satisficing, Maximization paradox, Choice, Regret

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