A Dynamic Choice Process: How Choices Generate Biased Memory that Influences Future Choices

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Journal Article

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Previous research has examined the effect of memory on choices (e.g., Biehal & Chakravarti 1986, Lynch & Stall 1982). There is some limited research that has explored how making a choice could bias memory (Mather, Shafir & Johnson, 2000). However, no research has attempted to take a combined view to study the choice process. In this research, we suggest that choice behavior should be viewed as a dynamic process. What people have already chosen and how they have made the choices should affect what they remember about the chosen and non-chosen options, which in turn will affect their future choices. We set up such a choice-memory-choice experimental paradigm and investigate the process in two experiments. We present evidence that types of choice conflicts bias memory towards the chosen option differently, biased memory affects future choices and the impact is moderated by the level of differentiation of the new option in the second choice. We also distinguished two types of biased memory both theoretically and experimentally. In the first experiment, we investigated the impact of two levels of choice conflicts on positive-biased memory towards the chosen option, and also explored the impact of biased memory on future choices. Subjects were first asked to choose from either a high conflict pair of options (i.e., both options are equally attractive) or a low conflict pair (i.e., one option is more attractive than the other). After either a short or a long delay, subjects were given a free recall task and a recognition task. They were then presented with a new, moderately superior option and were asked to make a second choice. Previous research has suggested some negative effect of high conflict choices. For...



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Advances in Consumer Research



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Association for Consumer Research