Choices often involve self-control conflicts such that options that are immediately appealing are less desirable in the long run. In the current research, the authors examine how viewing such a choice as one of a series of similar future choices rather than as an isolated decision decreases the preference for items requiring self-control. The authors show that (a) in a choice between a vice and a virtue, the share choosing vice increases when the decision is presented as one of a series of similar future choices versus when the same choice is viewed in isolation, and (b) the overall share choosing a vice increases when decisions are seen in connection with similar future choices. The findings contrast with the general wisdom that broader choice frames lead to the exercise of greater self-control. The authors propose that the context of similar future choices allows people to optimistically believe that they will choose a virtue in the future choice and hence provides them with a guilt-reducing justification to not exercise self-control in the present. PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved.
- Choice frames
- Sequential choice
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental Neuroscience