Supportive Social Relationships Attenuate the Appeal of Choice

Oscar Ybarra, David Seungjae Lee, Richard Gonzalez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


People like having options when choosing, but having too many options can lead to negative decision-related consequences. The present study focused on how social-relational factors-common aspects of daily life-can maintain or attenuate the appeal of choice. Study 1 examined the effect of a supportive- or nonsupportive-relationship prime on the decision to pay for having more options in choosing a consumer product. People who thought of supportive relationships, compared with those who thought of nonsupportive ones (and control participants), were less willing to pay for a larger choice set. Study 2 showed that the activation of thoughts of security and calmness in participants recalling supportive relationships (compared with participants recalling nonsupportive relationships) mediated the appeal of choice. This finding offers one possible explanation for the reduced desire for options when people are reminded of supportive relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1186-1192
Number of pages7
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • decision making
  • problem solving
  • relationship quality
  • social cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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