Choice, self expression and the spreading alternatives effect

Cao, Wen, Chen, Hong, Gao, Xiao, and Jackson, Todd (2009) Choice, self expression and the spreading alternatives effect. ACTA Psychologica Sinica, 41 (8). pp. 753-762.

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Self-expression is defined as expressions of one’s thoughts and feelings, which can be accomplished through words, choice, or actions. Utilizing both free-choice paradigm (active) and forced choice condition (passive), self-expression could result in the spreading alternatives effect for European Americans. That is to say, after making a choice between two objects, people tend to increase the degree of liking for the chosen object, and decrease the degree for the rejected object. Whereas the effect of self-expression is shared in the Occident, it is not privileged with such a cultural emphasis in East Asia. Using two choice paradigms (free-choice and forced choice) and two expressive paradigms (direct and indirect expression), four studies demonstrated the spreading alternatives effect in Chinese participants. Utilizing a free-choice paradigm, study 1a examined preference judgments; study 1b compared the preference judgments between expressive choice and non-expressive choice. Similarly, study 2a and 2b examined and compared preference choices in the forced choice condition.Results showed that, choice style (active or passive) and expression style (indirect or direct) influenced preference judgments. Direct expression increased the degree of liking for the obtained object, while indirect expression did not. One possible explanation could be that direct expression strengthened the motive of expression when people made ac-tive choices and then increased the degree of liking for the obtained object, through which people repaired the aversive feeling of cognitive dissonance when given a forced choice after losing the object they chose before. However, indirect expression counterpoised the factors which impacted preference for the obtained object. Thus, people maintained their degree of liking for the obtained object and didn’t experience the affirmation of ownership.

Item ID: 7924
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0439-755X
Keywords: choice, self expression, spreading alternatives effect
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2010 23:47
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1799 Other Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 179999 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920201 Allied Health Therapies (excl. Mental Health Services) @ 100%
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