Choice Reminder Modulates Choice-Induced Preference Change in Older Adults

Yi Huang*, Manling Li, Rongjun Yu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Objectives: Choices not only reflect preference but also shape preference. The choice-induced preference change (CIPC) occurs when making a decision modifies people’s attitudes about the options. When people rate a series of items and then must choose between 2 items rated as equally attractive, they later rate the unchosen item as less attractive than before. One explanation is that the choice and the equal preference for 2 options cause a psychological discomfort known as cognitive dissonance, which can be reduced by changing the preference. The current study aims to investigate the age-related differences in the CIPC effect, and how an explicit reminder of the previous choice modulates this effect.

Methods: Using an artifact-controlled free-choice paradigm, with a sample of 79 younger and 76 older participants, we manipulated the choice reminder in 2 experiments.

Results: We found that compared with young adults, older adults are less susceptible to CIPC when their previous choices were not explicitly reminded. After boosting the salience of choice-preference incongruency by reminding participants of their previous choices, older adults showed comparable CIPC as young adults.

Discussion: Our results suggest that older adults tend to downweigh the information that leads to cognitive dissonance and use this strategy only when such information is relatively implicit. The diminished CIPC in older adults could be one of the emotional regulation strategies that older adults engage in to maintain positive emotional states when making difficult decisions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-81
Number of pages9
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number1
Early online date20 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Choice reminder
  • Cognitive dissonance
  • Decision making
  • Free-choice paradigm
  • Spreading of alternatives


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