Evaluating Multiple Goals Simultaneously Makes Meaning Easier to Evaluate

Lin, Yuching, Psychology - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Converse, Benjamin, BA-Frank Batten School, University of Virginia

Sometimes, people choose to pursue something more meaningful, while other times, they opt to do something happier or more pleasurable. But in the thousands of decisions people make over the course of a day, when do they prioritize meaning, and when do they prioritize pleasure? While existing literature shows that some individual differences predict whether people prioritize one or the other, we demonstrate that the context of the decision, more specifically, whether people consider one option at a time versus multiple options at once, causes people to prioritize pleasure and meaning, respectively. Given that attributes prioritized during joint evaluation (i.e., when one considers multiple options at once) tend to be more difficult to judge or evaluate based on past literature, the fact that people prioritize meaning when considering multiple options at once suggests that meaning may be more difficult to evaluate than pleasure is. Future studies will explore the mechanisms underlying this effect.

MA (Master of Arts)
meaning, purpose, happiness, decision-making
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
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