The role of free choice in memory for past decisions

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After choosing between different options, people tend to remember the features of the options in ways that favour the chosen alternative. The present experiment examined how limitations on freedom to choose between options affected this memory bias. Participants were given a series of two-option choices and were either allowed free choice between options or were assigned to an option. Participants assigned to an option were led to believe that either the selection was random or was made in their best interest based on their personality profile. Results indicated that the choice and best interest conditions demonstrated memory attributions that favoured their received options, whereas the assignment condition did not. These findings support the view that memory biases towards received options are not unique to free choice situations, but may stem from expectations and implicit theories about how and why the choice was made.


Copyright 2006 Memory, Taylor & Francis

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Benney, K. E., & Henkel, L. A. (2006). The role of free choice in memory for past decisions. Memory, 14.8, 1001-1011.



Peer Reviewed