Turning the Page: the Impact of Choice Closure on Satisfaction


Journal of Consumer Research

August 2013, vol. 40, n°2, pp.268-283

Departments: Marketing, GREGHEC (CNRS)

After having made a purchase decision, consumers often revisit their choice and ponder forgone alternatives. This tendency can lower satisfaction with the selected alternative, especially when choices are difficult. We introduce the concept of “choice closure”—defined as the psychological process by which consumers come to perceive a decision to be final—and show that specific physical acts that are metaphorically associated with the concept of closure (such as covering or turning a page on the rejected alternatives) trigger choice closure in the context of difficult choices. Four studies show that performing acts of closure inhibits consumers’ propensity to reconsider their decision process and to engage in unfavorable comparisons between the chosen and the forgone options, resulting in greater satisfaction with the outcome of choices made from large sets. These findings suggest that subtle cues, which do not alter the actual choice context, can improve satisfaction with a difficult decision.