Where there is a way, is there a will? The effect of future choices on self-control

Uzma Khan, Ravi Dhar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

63 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-288
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
Volume136
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Guilt
Self-Control
Self-control
Research
Exercise
Conflict (Psychology)
Justification
Isolation
Wisdom

Keywords

  • Choice frames
  • Guilt
  • Optimism
  • Self-control
  • Sequential choice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Developmental Neuroscience

Cite this

Where there is a way, is there a will? The effect of future choices on self-control. / Khan, Uzma; Dhar, Ravi.

In: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Vol. 136, No. 2, 01.05.2007, p. 277-288.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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