ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (12): 2628-2638.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.02628

• Conceptual Framework • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The influence of motivation conflict on mixed loss-gain intertemporal choice: An approach-avoidance motivation perspective

SUN Hai-Long1, AN Xin-Ru2, LI Ai-Mei2(), LAI Hui-Yan1, LI Ze-Hong1   

  1. 1School of Business, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou 510006, China
    2Management School, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China
  • Received:2022-04-28 Online:2022-12-15 Published:2022-09-23
  • Contact: LI Ai-Mei


Many decisions that lead to neither pure gains nor losses require a trade-off between gains and losses over time. This kind of intertemporal choice featuring mixed gains and losses is increasingly common. Notably, such choices have important theoretical and practical value and have attracted increasing attention from researchers. Prior studies have usually employed a theoretical framework focused on intertemporal choice in the context of pure gains or losses, thereby failing to make use of any theoretical construction and exploration concerning the decision-making process that is suitable for mixed intertemporal choices.
To answer the key question of "how does motivational conflict affect mixed intertemporal choice", this paper intends to explore the following specific research questions. (1) What kind of motivational conflict occurs in the context of mixed intertemporal choice? (2) How does motivational conflict affect individual decision preferences in the context of mixed intertemporal choice? (3) What is the mechanism underlying motivational conflict that affects individual decision-making preferences in the context of mixed intertemporal choice?
For this purpose, we plan to explore the mechanism of motivation conflict underlying the decision-making process systematically by using both behavioural experiments and mouse-tracking techniques, and we expect to carry out three studies including six experiments in total. Specific details are as follows. (1) In Study 1, the relationship between the degree of motivation conflict and behavioural preferences in the context of such intertemporal choice is investigated. First, we initially propose using a within-subject experimental design to examine the relationship between decision-preference conflict and choice preference with respect to a mixed intertemporal choice step-preference paradigm. Simultaneously, a repeated measurement within-subject experimental design will be used to expand our research results pertaining to individual self-rated motivation conflict and to test the relationship between motivation conflict and mixed intertemporal choice in further detail. Study 1 will lay a paradigmatic foundation for decision-making research in subsequent Studies 2 and 3. (2) In Study 2, the degree of decision-making conflict will be manipulated by altering the relative differences in gains and losses with respect to endogenous factors as well as the resource limitations of exogenous factors. This approach is intended to verify the causal chain linking the degree of decision-making conflict to behavioural preference in further detail. (3) In Study 3, the decision-making process index and mouse tracking technology will be used to explore the process mechanism underlying the influence of mixed intertemporal choice conflict on behavioural preference. The degree of decision conflict will be measured by reference to the mouse trajectory index to reveal the process characteristics of decision conflict and the way in which this factor affects behavioural preference.
In conclusion, this study will explore the dynamic decision-making process mechanism associated with a mixed intertemporal choice context of decision conflict from the perspective of motivation conflict and thereby contribute to research and theory construction concerning mixed intertemporal choice. On the one hand, a theoretical interpretation of the decision-making process mechanism that advances mixed intertemporal choice will be produced by exploring the impact of decision-making motivational conflicts on mixed intertemporal choice. On the other hand, we try to reveal the motivation underlying the choice preference rule in the context of mixed intertemporal choice based on the theoretical perspective of motivation conflict, including avoidance, which serves as a response to calls by previous researchers for the improvement of our understanding of mixed intertemporal choice. Moreover, this study will not only attempt to highlight the relationship between intermotivational conflict and choice preference in the context of mixed intertemporal choice but also to distinguish the factors that influence motivational conflict in the context of mixed intertemporal choice further by identifying them as either exogenous or endogenous factors. Specifically, this study will systematically manipulate exogenous factors and endogenous factors to enhance approach or avoidance motivation and subsequently change the degree of motivation conflict in an attempt to depict the causal chain associated with motivation conflict and mixed cross-period decision-making choice preference in full depth. By reference to the findings concerning the degree of decision conflict, the preference rule and the decision-making process in the context of mixed intertemporal choice, suggestions for the design of organizational management measures and the improvement of both individual and organizational welfare will be provided.

Key words: mixed intertemporal choice, decision-making process, motivation conflict, approach-avoidance motivation, mouse tracking technology

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