Maximizers Versus Satisficers

Decision-Making Styles, Competence, and Outcomes

Published in: Judgment and Decision Making, v. 2, No. 6, Dec. 2007, p. 342-350

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2006

by Andrew M. Parker, Wandi Bruine de Bruin, Baruch Fischhoff

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The authors previous research suggests that people reporting a stronger desire to maximize obtain worse life outcomes (Bruine de Bruin et al., 2007). Here, we examine whether this finding may be explained by the decision-making styles of self-reported maximizers. Expanding on Schwartz et al. (2002), the authors find that self-reported maximizers are more likely to show problematic decision-making styles, as evidenced by self-reports of less behavioral coping, greater dependence on others when making decisions, more avoidance of decision making, and greater tendency to experience regret. Contrary to predictions, self-reported maximizers were more likely to report spontaneous decision making. However, the relationship between self-reported maximizing and worse life outcomes is largely unaffected by controls for measures of other decision-making styles, decision-making competence, and demographic variables.

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