Choosing and Liking (10-05-20)

Selections and preferences were probed in a recent study.  Silver and colleagues report that “The question of how people’s preferences are shaped by their choices has generated decades of research. In a classic example, work on cognitive dissonance has found that observers who must choose between two equally attractive options subsequently avoid the unchosen option, suggesting that not choosing the item led them to like it less. However, almost all of the research on such choice-induced preference focuses on adults. . . . we examined the developmental roots of this phenomenon in preverbal infants. . . . In a series of seven experiments using a free-choice paradigm, we found that infants experienced choice-induced preference change similar to adults’. Infants’ choice patterns reflected genuine preference change and not attraction to novelty or inherent attitudes toward the options. Hence, choice shapes preferences—even without extensive experience making decisions and without a well-developed self-concept.”

Alex Silver, Aimee Stahl, Rita Loiotile, Alexis Smith-Flores, and Lisa Feigenson.  “When Not Choosing Leads to Not Liking:  Choice-Induced Preference in Infancy.”  Psychological Science, in press, https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797620954491