Number of Options and Choice-Induced Preference Change

Andrea Ritoša, Igor Bajšanski


ecisions not only reflect but also shape preferences. Making a choice between two equally attractive options alters the preferences in a way that the evaluation of a chosen option increases, while the evaluation of a non- -chosen option decreases. Preference change is a way of dealing with choice-induced cognitive dissonance. The aim of this study was to examine whether the choice-induced preference change differs when the number of options in the choice task is considered. Research was carried out on 57 subjects. Their task was to evaluate the attractiveness of travel destinations, choose between two, four or six equally or unequally attractive options, and then to re-evaluate them. It was found that after making a choice between equally attractive options, the chosen options became more attractive. This effect was stronger in the tasks with more options. The desirability of rejected options was lower after the choice was made, and this effect was stronger in the tasks with a smaller number of options. With easy choices, there was no significant difference in preference change for chosen and non-chosen alternatives. These findings support the idea that decisions shape preferences.


choice-induced preference change;free choice paradigm; number of options

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Print ISSN 1330-0288 | Online ISSN 1848-6096