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Society for Personality and Social Psychology

Washington, DC – People make decisions every day, some trivial, like what to eat for lunch, while others are more significant — career, marriage, buying a home. A series of studies conducted by Jeff Hughes and Abigail Scholar (University of Waterloo) show that how people make their decisions, not just the outcome, may impact their health, happiness and satisfaction. The research appears in the journal, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP).

One approach to decision-making is to maximize, which is commonly defined as an extensive search through options to find “the best one.” However, Hughes and Scholer’s research shows that even people who want to find the best option can approach that goal in different ways.

One type of maximizer, the promotion-focused maximizer, strives to attain ideals and is particularly concerned with approaching gains and avoiding non-gains, according to the study. When put to a series of tests, it turns out this type of maximizer is able to find the best choice in a way that is satisfying and avoids regret.

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