Abstract

This research examines the phenomenon of interruptions and suspensions in decision making. It is proposed that information processing may change from a bottom-up, data-driven to a top-down, goal-directed mode after an interruption, thereby affecting preferences. In particular, in decisions involving desirability and feasibility conflicts, because desirability is a superordinate goal to feasibility, four studies found that when a decision is interrupted and later resumed, people become more likely to favor highly desirable but less feasible consumption, such as a high-risk, high-reward option or a high-quality, high-price option. A reduced focus on feasibility is found to underlie this effect.

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