Decisions under time pressure: How time constraint affects risky decision making

Lisa Ordóñez, Lehman Benson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

198 Scopus citations


Subjects rated the attractiveness of and judged maximum buying prices for gambles which had some probability of winning a dollar amount, otherwise winning nothing. Change-of-process theory (Mellers, Chang, Birnbaum, & Ordóñez, 1992; Mellers, Ordóñez, & Birnbaum, 1992) asserts that decision makers multiply probability and amount information when stating buying prices but add this information when reporting attractiveness ratings. When subjects were placed under time constraint, however, some subjects' ratings were consistent with a multiplicative combination process. This result only occurred when these subjects performed the rating task under time constraint and had performed the buying price task in the previous set of trials. These subjects were less likely to engage in cognitive tasks, as measured by the Need for Cognition Scale (Cacioppo, Petty, & Kao, 1984). Apparently, the extra cognitive demands of the time constraint caused these subjects to use the same strategy employed in the previous task. When the time constraint was removed, these subjects appeared to switch back to an additive strategy. These changes in information processing produced predictable patterns of preference reversals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-140
Number of pages20
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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