Toss and turn or toss and stop? Coin flips in decision-making
Third-party funded project
Project title Toss and turn or toss and stop? Coin flips in decision-making
Principal Investigator(s) Douneva, Maria
Organisation / Research unit Departement Psychologie / Sozialpsychologie (Greifeneder)
Project start 01.09.2019
Probable end 31.08.2020
Status Active

When struggling with decisions, individuals sometimes flip a coin. Interestingly, when looking at the coin flip’s outcome, individuals do not necessarily follow the coin’s suggestion, but experience satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the outcome and may even decide to flip the coin again. Given that they struggled with the decision before, this is surprising, and may suggest that the coin flip makes individuals realize what they really want. Within this project, I aim at demonstrating that (1) people can have a preference even when they claim being undecided and that this preference can predict emotional reactions to a coin flip’s suggestion and in turn predict behavior, and (2) that people can experience a coin flip as giving them permission to act in a certain way. Carrying out this research project will advance the field of decision-making as it bridges the gap between making own decisions and delegating decisions, and will also have important practical implications given the many instances in which people feel undecided and end up delaying decisions to the detriment of their own and others’ well-being.

Financed by University of Basel

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