Positive consequences of conflict on decision making: When a conflict mindset facilitates choice

Jennifer Savary, Tali Kleiman, Ran R. Hassin, Ravi Dhar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Much research has shown that conflict is aversive and leads to increased choice deferral. In contrast, we have proposed that conflict can be beneficial. Specifically, exposure to nonconscious goal conflict can activate a mindset (a set of cognitive procedures) that facilitates the systematic processing of information without triggering the associated costs, such as negative affect and stress. In a conflict mindset, people should be better able to make tradeoffs and resolve choice conflict. We tested this proposition in 4 experiments, and demonstrated that priming conflicting goals before a decision increases choice in domains unrelated to the primed conflict. We further demonstrated that increased choice occurs because people in a conflict mindset process choice information more systematically, and we rule out several alternative explanations for the results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Choice
  • Conflict
  • Deferral
  • Goals
  • Mindsets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology(all)
  • Developmental Neuroscience


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