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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1990 Oct;59(4):614-22.

The role of attitudes in memory-based decision making.

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Department of Psychology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City 84112.


Frequently, considerable knowledge of the attributes of decision alternatives is available in memory so as to permit a thoughtful and deliberate choice. However, in many instances, individuals neglect to use such knowledge and instead rely on "attitude-based" strategy to make a memory-based decision. The findings from two experiments suggest that as to the motivation to make a correct decision or the opportunity to use the available attribute knowledge decreases, the likelihood that attitudes will guide a memory-based decision increases. The findings illustrate the functional role attitudes play in guiding decisions and behavior. By providing a ready means of evaluating choice alternatives, attitudes enable an individual to make a decision relatively quickly and effortlessly.

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