Journal of Behavioral Decision Making

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Volume 21 Issue 5 (December 2008), Pages 493-622

Multiple options in the past and the present: The impact on inaction inertia (pages 519-531)


Inaction inertia is the effect that people do not act on an attractive opportunity only because they previously missed a more attractive opportunity. We investigated the effect of the presence of alternative options on the occurrence of this effect. We hypothesized and found that the likelihood to act on a current opportunity increases when evaluated in the context of another current option compared to when it is presented separately (Experiments 1 and 2). Likelihood of action decreases when the missed opportunity is presented next to another missed opportunity (Experiment 3). We conclude that when multiple options are currently present, the impact of the missed opportunity as a point of reference decreases, and that when multiple options are missed, the impact of these missed opportunities as a point of reference increases. These results are discussed in light of the literatures about inaction inertia and multiple options. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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