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Not governed by chance: Flipping a coin to make own decisions

Douneva, Maria. Not governed by chance: Flipping a coin to make own decisions. 2020, Doctoral Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Psychology.

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Abstract

This dissertation focuses on the peculiar phenomenon of flipping a coin to decide but then making a decision independent of the coin flip. Many people have encountered this catalyst phenomenon in their lives, but a scientific explanation has been lacking so far. Previous research has focused on coin flips as deciders, meaning it is assumed that people will always do what the coin suggests. I paint a more nuanced picture and do not simply equate using chance with avoidance. Instead, I suggest (based on my own and previous research) that the appeal of the coin as a catalyst lies in its ability to simultaneously satisfy two needs: the motivation to obtain a particular outcome while reducing felt responsibility for the process of obtaining it. My dissertation thereby explains a decision-making phenomenon that has long been subsumed under choice avoidance or as a consequence of decision aversion. Empirically, I show that a coin flip suggesting how to decide rarely influences the decisions people make, thereby allowing for autonomous decision making, but that it critically influences feelings and information related to the decision-making process.
Advisors:Greifeneder, Rainer and Trope, Yaacov
Faculties and Departments:07 Faculty of Psychology > Departement Psychologie > Forschungsbereich Sozial-, Wirtschafts- und Entscheidungspsychologie > Sozialpsychologie (Greifeneder)
UniBasel Contributors:Douneva, Maria and Greifeneder, Rainer
Item Type:Thesis
Thesis Subtype:Doctoral Thesis
Thesis no:13752
Thesis status:Complete
Number of Pages:1 Online-Ressource (verschiedene Seitenzählungen)
Language:English
edoc DOI:
Last Modified:30 Oct 2020 05:30
Deposited On:29 Oct 2020 09:06

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