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The different roads not taken: considering diverse foregone alternatives motivates future goal persistence

Kim, Hye-Young ORCID: 0000-0003-3788-6135 (2024) The different roads not taken: considering diverse foregone alternatives motivates future goal persistence. Journal of Consumer Psychology. ISSN 1057-7408

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Identification Number: 10.1002/jcpy.1412


Decisions are rarely made in isolation. Instead, deliberation often occurs in the context of prior related choices. This article finds that goal-inconsistent foregone alternatives, options that were previously considered but not chosen, shape how consumers subsequently pursue their goals. Going beyond previous research on foregone alternatives and consumer satisfaction, the current research suggests that how consumers mentally construe foregone goal-inconsistent alternatives impacts how they evaluate their prior goal-consistent choices, which will, in turn, impact their motivation to continue making goal-consistent choices. Specifically, we find the foregone alternative diversity effect: consumers who consider having previously foregone diverse (vs. similar) goal-inconsistent alternatives in favor of a goal-consistent action then believe that they have made a greater sacrifice, which had more of an impact on their focal goal. As a result, they are then more likely to subsequently make goal-consistent choices. Our findings hold across different types of goals (exercise: Study 1, healthy eating: Studies 2, 3, and 5, weight loss: Study 4), and both real and hypothetical choices. We also identify theoretically motivated boundary conditions for the observed effect of considering foregone alternatives.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author
Divisions: Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2024 12:30
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2024 01:06

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