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When Mental Simulation Hinders Behavior: The Effects of Process-Oriented Thinking on Decision Difficulty and Performance

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Abstract

We investigate the effect of process- versus outcome-oriented thinking on consumers' subjective experiences when choosing among alternatives. In four studies, we show that because process-oriented thinking leads to a dual focus on both means and end benefits, it increases decision difficulty when consumers face substantive trade-offs between desirability and feasibility. This experienced difficulty results in negative consequences for consumers' subsequent behavior, including greater willingness to postpone choice, lower commitment to the chosen option, and degraded task performance. (c) 2009 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc..

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