Choice reminder modulates choice-induced preference change in older adults

Yi HUANG*, Manling LI, Rongjun YU

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

Abstract

Objectives
Choices not only reflect preference but also shape preference. The choice-induced preference change (CIPC) occurs when making a decision modifies people’s attitudes about the options. When people rate a series of items and then must choose between two items rated as equally attractive, they later rate the unchosen item as less attractive than before. One explanation is that the choice and the equal preference for two options cause a psychological discomfort known as cognitive dissonance, which can be reduced by changing the preference. The current study aims to investigate the age-related differences in the CIPC effect, and how explicit reminder of the previous choice modulates this effect.

Method
Using an artifact-controlled free-choice paradigm, with a sample of 79 younger and 76 older participants, we manipulated the choice reminder in two experiments.

Results
We found that compared with young adults, older adults are less susceptible to CIPC when their previous choices were not explicitly reminded. After boosting the salience of choice-preference incongruency by reminding participants of their previous choices, older adults showed comparable CIPC as young adults did.

Discussion
Our results suggest that older adults tend to downweigh the information that leads to cognitive dissonance and use this strategy only when such information is relatively implicit. The diminished CIPC in older adults could be one of the emotional regulation strategies that older adults engage in to maintain positive emotional states when making difficult decisions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

his work was supported by Lingnan University Innovation and Impact Fund (#KT21A9, sponsored by the UGC Knowledge Transfer Fund) to Yi Huang

Keywords

  • cognitive dissonance
  • spreading of alternatives
  • choice reminder
  • free-choice paradigm
  • decision-making

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