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   2011, Vol. 43 Issue (01) : 11-20     DOI:
Self-Other Decision Making Difference: A Construal Level Perspective
XU Jing-Zhe;XIE Xiao-Fei
(1 Department of Psychology, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China)
(2 Bank of China Limited, Beijing 100818, China)
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Abstract  For most real-life decisions, people either seek for others’ advice or act as advisors. From the perspective of Construal Level Theory (Trope & Liberman, 2003; Trope, Liberman, & Wakslak, 2007), deciding for oneself versus others involves different cognitive processes, and thus leads to divergent preference and decisions. Others, compared to oneself, are psychologically distant. Therefore, people advising for others tend to construct the decision in terms of its end-state or outcome (i.e. desirability aspects); when evaluating personal decisions, however, people will attend to the more specific process to achieve that outcome (i.e. feasibility aspects).
Using scenarios, the present study addresses the above issue. Across the two experiments, participants made decisions about supermarket coupons, with various desirability (face value) and feasibility (shopping convenience) combinations. Study 1 investigated the difference in preference when deciding for oneself versus others. 165 participants were presented with four types of coupons along desirability (high/low) and feasibility (high/low) dimensions, and then they made decisions either for themselves or someone else. As expected, the self-other decision making difference emerged. While personal decision makers were highly sensitive to feasibility, advisors paid less attention to these low-level aspects. However, such difference only held in low-desirability condition.
In Study 2, similarity was introduced to reduce the psychological distance between oneself and others. Two “mixed” alternatives were constructed with either high desirability and low feasibility or low desirability and high feasibility. 81 participants jointly evaluated the two types of coupons and then indicated their willingness to pay for each of them. Results replicated the self-other decision making difference. Compared to personal decision makers, advisors showed stronger preference toward the high-desirability alternative, with less sensitivity to the feasibility aspects. Meanwhile, advice made for similar others (versus dissimilar counterparts) seemed more consistent with personal decisions.
The results supported the self-other decision making difference. Interpersonal distance, as a form of psychological distance, exerts significant influence on the cognitive representation and decision making process. The implications of these findings for social distance, advice giving and taking were discussed.
Keywords construal level theory      self-other decision making      advisor      interpersonal similarity     
Corresponding Authors: XIE Xiao-Fei   
Issue Date: 30 January 2011
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XU Jing-Zhe,XIE Xiao-Fei. Self-Other Decision Making Difference: A Construal Level Perspective[J]. , 2011, 43(01): 11-20.
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[1] LING Bin;WANG Zhongming. The Effects of Temporal Distance on Confirmatory Information Processing[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2014, 46(8): 1176-1191.
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