The transience of constructed preferences

Dan Simon, Daniel C. Krawczyk, Airom Bleicher, Keith J. Holyoak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


A large body of research suggests that preferences are constructed rather than merely accessed in the course of making decisions. The current research examines the stability of constructed preferences over time. Preferences for various factors relevant to a job choice were measured prior to presentation of the job-choice task, at the point of decision, and again following a delay. It was found that relative to baseline pre-decision levels, preferences shifted to provide stronger support for the emerging decision. Preference changes proved to be transient, receding to baseline after 1 week (Experiment 1), and even within 15 minutes (Experiment 2). These findings, which can be interpreted in terms of decision-making by constraint satisfaction, suggest that preferences are constructed to serve the decision at hand, without constraining the decision maker in future decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Behavioral Decision Making
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Constraint satisfaction
  • Constructed preferences
  • Decision making
  • Decisional conflict
  • Regret
  • Time and decision making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Strategy and Management


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