Testing the Compatibility Test: How Instructions, Accountability, and Anticipated Regret Affect Prechoice Screening of Options

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51 Scopus citations

Abstract

Subjects screened a set of jobs, retaining those for which they wished to apply and rejecting those that were no longer under consideration. In Experiment 1, subjects who indicated the jobs for which they would apply/not apply screened out fewer jobs than those with instructions to reject/not reject or those with instructions simply to screen (control). There were no differences between the reject and control conditions. Experiment 2 used a design similar to that of Experiment 1, but subjects were made accountable for their screening judgments. The reject-apply discrepancy remained, but the accountability manipulation made the subjects more stringent in their screening compared to those who were not accountable for their judgments. In Experiment 3, subjects were told to consider either the regret resulting from retaining a bad option (regret bad) or the regret from rejecting a good option (regret good). Subjects in the regret bad condition rejected more jobs than did subjects in the regret good condition, but not more than subjects in the control condition. As predicted by image theory, the normal screening process appears to be to screen out the bad options rather than screen in the good options. This is demonstrated by screening in the control condition being similar to screening under the reject instructions (Experiment 1) and under regret bad instructions (Experiment 3), since these conditions were shown to focus attention on the bad options.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-80
Number of pages18
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Volume78
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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