Restricting choice freedom reduces post-choice goal disengagement

Jordan Etkin, Juliano Laran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Consumerspursuegoalsbyselectingmeanstotheirattainment.Theymightpursueagoaltobehealthy, for instance, by choosing healthy snacks or standing rather than sitting at their desk. Making an initial goal-congruent choice, however, often leaves people less motivated to continue pursuing the goal afterward, resulting in a variety of undesirable behaviors (e.g., eating a substantial piece of cake). The current research proposes a novel way to reduce this post-choice goal disengagement effect: Restricting consumers’ sense of choice freedom. Three experiments support this prediction and demonstrate why it occurs: By reducing the goal progress an initial choice of means is perceived to accomplish. Restricting perceived choice freedom can thus help sustain post-choice motivation to pursue valued goals. The findings contribute to the literatures on goals and choice freedom, and offer practical insight into how to structure choice environments to help consumers adhere to long-term goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-46
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Association for Consumer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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