On the Pursuit and Misuse of Useless Information

Anthony Bastardi, Eldar Shafir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Decision makers often pursue noninstrumental information - information that appears relevant but, if simply available, would have no impact on choice. Once they pursue such information, people then use it to make their decision. Consequently, the pursuit of information that would have had no impact on choice leads people to make choices they would not otherwise have made. The pursuit of noninstrumental information is documented and its effects on ensuing decisions are explored in a variety of social, consumer, and strategic situations. The causes and implications of this pattern are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-32
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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