Is guilt driving the optimism bias in sequential choice? Three alternative explanations
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Optimism bias is an interesting phenomenon discussed by Khan and Dhar (2007) in relation to sequential choices and self-control failure. The literature pertaining to optimism bias, however, generates a number of possible confounds and alternative explanations which can seriously challenge the validity of the process underlying the phenomenon. Herein, the article discusses these concerns from the perspective of “Temporal Construal Theory” (e.g., Trope and Liberman, 2003), “License to Indulge Effect” (e.g., Khan and Dhar, 2006) and “Overoptimism exhibited by consumers regarding Future Goal Progress” (e.g., Fishbach and Dhar, 2005). Clearly, demarcation of the optimism bias from the concepts found in related literature is challenging. There is clear convergence of findings and unless these are addressed carefully, the theoretical contribution of the optimism bias effect remains weak.
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