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Psychol Sci. 2010 Apr;21(4):568-73. doi: 10.1177/0956797610363546. Epub 2010 Feb 26.

Delay, doubt, and decision: how delaying a choice reduces the appeal of (descriptively) normative options.

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Tilburg University.


To help explain a regularity in democratic elections, we examined whether choosing to delay making a choice between a focal option and an alternative tends to make people subsequently less likely to choose what they would otherwise have chosen. The results of two experiments demonstrated that participants who were induced to delay making a decision were indeed less likely to choose the descriptively normative option. An additional experiment that primed a sense of doubt in participants provided support for a self-perception account of this result. Electing to delay making a choice is interpreted as an indication of doubt--doubt that tends to be attributed to the most prominent option. Delay-induced doubt about the normative option makes it less likely to be selected.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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