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Research In Review 2011

Choosing what I want or keeping what I should: The effect of decision strategy on choice consistency.

 

Kogut, T. (2011). Choosing what I want or keeping what I should: The effect of decision strategy on choice consistency. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 116(1), pp. 129-139.         

 

We examine decision-makers’ consistency vis-à-vis their own priorities in a multi-choice task, using either an inclusion or exclusion strategy to reduce a set of alternatives. Four studies demonstrate that people’s decisions are more consistent with their priorities when using an exclusion vs. an inclusion strategy to screen alternatives. Moreover, this effect was stronger for less knowledgeable than for more knowledgeable decision-makers. We examined two possible mechanisms behind this phenomenon. First, we suggest that the process of thinking about the positive aspects of the alternatives (associated with inclusion) encourages the decision-maker to more favorably evaluate options initially given low marks, resulting in less consistency with preferences. We also show that under exclusion, people tend to select the alternatives that they think they should choose, while under inclusion they tend to choose options that are more in line with what they would like to have but which may be perceived as luxuries.

 

How many roads lead to Rome? Equifinality set-size and commitment to goals and means.

 

Kruglanski, A. W., Pierro, A. and Sheveland, A. (2011), How many roads lead to Rome? Equifinality set-size and commitment to goals and means. European Journal of Social Psychology, 41: 344–352.   

 

Four studies examined the relation between the number of equifinal means to a goal, actors' commitment to that goal, and their commitment to the means. In Study 1, participants freely generated varying number of means to two of their work goals. In Study 2, they generated social means to their goals (people they viewed as helpful to goal attainment). In Studies 3 and 4, the number of means to participants' goals was experimentally manipulated. All four studies found that means commitment is negatively related, whereas goal commitment is positively related, to means number. Consistent support was also obtained for the notion that the relation between means number and goal commitment is mediated by the expectancy of goal attainment, and by goal importance. Conceptual and practical implications of the findings were considered that link together the notions of substitutability and dependency within a goal systemic framework.

 

The temporal effect of training utility perceptions on adopting a trained method: The role of perceived organizational support.

 

Madera, J. M., Steele, S. T. and Beier, M. (2011), The temporal effect of training utility perceptions on adopting a trained method: The role of perceived organizational support. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 22: 69–86           

 

The current study examined the temporal effect of perceived training utility on adoption of a trained method and how perceived organizational support influences the relationship between perceived training utility perceptions and adoption of a trained method. With the use of a correlational-survey–based design, this longitudinal study required participants to complete questionnaires immediately after training and 6 months posttraining. The results showed that perceived organizational support interacted with the immediate posttraining utility perceptions, such that regardless of whether trainees' initial utility perception was low or high, trainees' perceptions of training utility measured 6 months posttraining were high when there was a high level of organizational support. Training utility perceptions measured 6 months posttraining mediated the relationship between initial utility perceptions and organizational support and training adoption.

 

Cognitive niches: An ecological model of strategy selection.

 

Marewski, J. N., & Schooler, L. J. (2011). Cognitive niches: An ecological model of strategy selection. Psychological Review, 118(3), 393-437.

 

How do people select among different strategies to accomplish a given task? Across disciplines, the strategy selection problem represents a major challenge. We propose a quantitative model that predicts how selection emerges through the interplay among strategies, cognitive capacities, and the environment. This interplay carves out for each strategy a cognitive niche, that is, a limited number of situations in which the strategy can be applied, simplifying strategy selection. To illustrate our proposal, we consider selection in the context of 2 theories: the simple heuristics framework and the ACT–R (adaptive control of thought—rational) architecture of cognition. From the heuristics framework, we adopt the thesis that people make decisions by selecting from a repertoire of simple decision strategies that exploit regularities in the environment and draw on cognitive capacities, such as memory and time perception. ACT–R provides a quantitative theory of how these capacities adapt to the environment. In 14 simulations and 10 experiments, we consider the choice between strategies that operate on the accessibility of memories and those that depend on elaborate knowledge about the world. Based on Internet statistics, our model quantitatively predicts people's familiarity with and knowledge of real-world objects, the distributional characteristics of the associated speed of memory retrieval, and the cognitive niches of classic decision strategies, including those of the fluency, recognition, integration, lexicographic, and sequential-sampling heuristics. In doing so, the model specifies when people will be able to apply different strategies and how accurate, fast, and effortless people's decisions will be.

 

What Influences Customers' Online Comments.

 

Moe, W. W., Schweidel, D. A., & Trusov, M. (2011). What Influences Customers' Online Comments. MIT Sloan Management Review, 53(1), 14-16.       

 

The article analyzes product ratings and sales from a popular online retailer to determine the key dynamics that influenced the evolution of online forums. The study noted that it is not common for customers to share their own opinions online despite their tendency to seek out the opinions of others. Some factors that affect contribution to online product forums are posters and posted ratings. The dynamics at work in online forums are adjustment, selection and polarization effects. The study observed that posted ratings become more negative with adjustment and selection effects.

 

Feedback and the rationing of time and effort among competing tasks.

 

Northcraft, G. B., Schmidt, A. M., & Ashford, S. J. (2011). Feedback and the rationing of time and effort among competing tasks. Journal Of Applied Psychology, 96(5), 1076-1086.           

 

The study described here tested a model of how characteristics of the feedback environment influence the allocation of resources (time and effort) among competing tasks. Results demonstrated that performers invest more resources on tasks for which higher quality (more timely and more specific) feedback is available; this effect was partially mediated by task salience and task expectancies. Feedback timing and feedback specificity demonstrated both main and interaction effects on resource allocations. Results also demonstrated that performers do better on tasks for which higher quality feedback is available; this effect was mediated by resources allocated to tasks. The practical and theoretical implications of the role of the feedback environment in managing performance are discussed.

 

Grounding person memory in space: Does spatial anchoring of behaviors improve recall?

 

Palma, T. A., Garrido, M. V. and Semin, G. R. (2011), Grounding person memory in space: Does spatial anchoring of behaviors improve recall?. European Journal of Social Psychology, 41: 275–280.

 

In two experiments, we examine and find support for the general hypothesis that memory for behavioral information in the context of an impression formation task depends on where that information is located in vertical space. These findings extend earlier work showing that memory for location and shifts of spatial attention are influenced by the “good is up” metaphor. Specifically, we show that person memory is better for behavioral information in metaphor compatible locations (positive in upper space and negative in lower space) than in metaphor incompatible locations (positive in lower space and negative in upper space). These findings show for the first time that person-specific information, and person memory in general, is structured spatially.

 

Emphasizing social features in information portals: Effects on new member engagement.

 

Sharma, N., Butler, B. S., Irwin, J. and Spallek, H. (2011), Emphasizing social features in information portals: Effects on new member engagement. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 62: 2106–2120.  

 

Many information portals are adding social features with hopes of enhancing the overall user experience. Invitations to join and welcome pages that highlight these social features are expected to encourage use and participation. While this approach is widespread and seems plausible, the effect of providing and highlighting social features remains to be tested. We studied the effects of emphasizing social features on users' response to invitations, their decisions to join, their willingness to provide profile information, and their engagement with the portal's social features. The results of a quasi-experiment found no significant effect of social emphasis in invitations on receivers' responsiveness. However, users receiving invitations highlighting social benefits were less likely to join the portal and provide profile information. Social emphasis in the initial welcome page for the site also was found to have a significant effect on whether individuals joined the portal, how much profile information they provided and shared, and how much they engaged with social features on the site. Unexpectedly, users who were welcomed in a social manner were less likely to join and provided less profile information; they also were less likely to engage with social features of the portal. This suggests that even in online contexts where social activity is an increasingly common feature, highlighting the presence of social features may not always be the optimal presentation strategy.

 

A Meta-Analytic Examination of the Instructional Effectiveness of Computer-Based Simulation Games.

 

Sitzmann, T. (2011), A Meta-Analytic Examination of the Instructional Effectiveness of Computer-Based Simulation Games. Personnel Psychology, 64: 489–528.

 

Interactive cognitive complexity theory suggests that simulation games are more effective than other instructional methods because they simultaneously engage trainees’ affective and cognitive processes (Tennyson & Jorczak, 2008). Meta-analytic techniques were used to examine the instructional effectiveness of computer-based simulation games relative to a comparison group (k= 65, N= 6,476). Consistent with theory, posttraining self-efficacy was 20% higher, declarative knowledge was 11% higher, procedural knowledge was 14% higher, and retention was 9% higher for trainees taught with simulation games, relative to a comparison group. However, the results provide strong evidence of publication bias in simulation games research. Characteristics of simulation games and the instructional context also moderated the effectiveness of simulation games. Trainees learned more, relative to a comparison group, when simulation games conveyed course material actively rather than passively, trainees could access the simulation game as many times as desired, and the simulation game was a supplement to other instructional methods rather than stand-alone instruction. However, trainees learned less from simulation games than comparison instructional methods when the instruction the comparison group received as a substitute for the simulation game actively engaged them in the learning experience.

                           

Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips.

 

Sparrow, B., Liu, J., and Wegner, D. (2011). Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips. Science. 333. 776-778.         

 

The advent of the Internet, with sophisticated algorithmic search engines, has made accessing information as easy as lifting a finger. No longer do we have to make costly efforts to find the things we want. We can "Google" the old classmate, find articles online, or look up the actor who was on the tip of our tongue. The results of four studies suggest that when faced with difficult questions, people are primed to think about computers and that when people expect to have future access to information, they have lower rates of recall of the information itself and enhanced recall instead for where to access it. The Internet has become a primary form of external or transactive memory, where information is stored collectively outside ourselves.