In choices under incomplete information on incumbents, consumers with stronger preferences are more likely to reinforce their prior choices with motivated reasoning. However, in situations where incomplete information is restricted only to the prior choice, consumers with stronger preferences are more likely to abandon, not reinforce, their prior choices due to cognitive dissonance. Here, we consider how cognitive ability and personality traits mediate such interplay between motivated reasoning and cognitive dissonance. We set an experiment to show that consumers with a stronger System 2 are more likely to engage in motivated reasoning to reinforce the prior choice and thus suffer less cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance can, however, overcome motivated reasoning for those cognitively poor consumers who are more emotional, less humble, less extraverted and less conscientious.
Cite this paper
Silva, S. D. , Matsushita, R. and Ramos, M. (2019). Incomplete Information Choice on Incumbents, Cognitive Ability and Personality. Open Access Library Journal, 6, e5476. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/oalib.1105476.
Pyszczynski, T. and Greenberg, J. (1987) Toward an Integration of Cognitive and Motivational Perspectives on Social Inference: A Biased Hypothesis Testing Model. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 20, 297-340. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0065-2601(08)60417-7
Russo, J.E., Medvec, V.H. and Meloy, M.G. (1996) The Distortion of Information During Decisions. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 66, 102-110. https://doi.org/10.1006/obhd.1996.0041
Irmak, C., Kramer, T. and Sen, S. (2017) Choice under Incomplete Information on Incumbents: Why Consumers with Stronger Preferences Are More Likely to Abandon their Prior Choices. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 27, 264-269. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcps.2016.06.002
Ashton, M.C., Lee, K., Perugini, M., Szarota, P., De Vries, R.E., Di Blas, L., Boies, K. and De Raad, B. (2004) A Six-Factor Structure of Personality-Descriptive Adjectives: Solutions from Psycholexical Studies in Seven Languages. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86, 356-366. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3522.214.171.1246
Toplak, M.E., West, R.F. and Stanovich, K.E. (2014) Assessing Miserly Information Processing: An Expansion of the Cognitive Reflection Test. Thinking & Reasoning, 20, 147-168. https://doi.org/10.1080/13546783.2013.844729