How to Cope with Ambivalence: Sub-Dimensioning vs. Integration

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This dissertation investigates two different decision-making strategies, which I label “sub-dimensioning” versus “integration” that individuals employ to cope with feelings of ambivalence. “Sub-dimensioning” is defined as a strategy that involves lower-level construals where an ambivalent decision-maker represents and evaluates an attitude object in terms of its dimensions of evaluation, whereas “integration” is a strategy with which a decision-maker attempts to integrate all the dimensions of evaluation to generate a single, comprehensive evaluation of the object. I hypothesize that the effectiveness of a strategy in reducing uncomfortable feelings of conflict relates to the motivational nature of these feelings: sub-dimensioning is more effective when the decision-maker is motivated by the aversion of impeded decision-making, whereas integration is more effective when motivated by the aversion of holding inconsistent evaluations. Five experiments provide empirical evidence of the hypothesized effects of strategy and motivation on resolution of feelings of ambivalence and its related outcomes. This dissertation contributes to the existing literature on ambivalence that commonly subscribes to the dissonance-reduction account of ambivalence by proposing a novel coping strategy, sub-dimensioning, that is specifically aimed at facilitating decisions in an ambivalent decision-making context.

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  • 11/01/2018
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