Contemporary consumer behavior research largely conceptualizes post-decision evaluation processes in terms of decision confidence, anticipated regret and satisfaction, and decision and consumption satisfaction. The current research broadens this view, arguing that people additionally experience varying degrees of decision comfort that are distinct from other post-decision evaluations. The authors argue that comfort is a soft-positive emotion thus far unexamined in relation to decision processes and present nine studies that (1) develop and validate two scales to measure decision comfort, (2) demonstrate the discriminant validity of decision comfort relative to numerous other post-decision constructs, and (3) examine the unique downstream consequences of decision comfort. The results show that an individual may be quite comfortable with a decision despite being uncertain about the optimality and/or the anticipated consequences of that decision (e.g., satisfaction or regret). It is demonstrated that decision comfort responds to affect-relevant cues and tends to rely less on comparisons between the chosen and foregone options (i.e., it tends to be a less comparative evaluation). Decision comfort is also shown to account for a sizable proportion of consumers' overall decision evaluations and to have meaningful downstream consequences on marketing-relevant variables (e.g., choice commitment and the likelihood of recommending).
Parker, Jeffrey, Donald Lehmann, and Yi Xie. "Decision Comfort." Journal of Consumer Research 43, no. 1 (June 2016): 113-33.
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