The conflicting choices of alternating selves

Robyn A. LeBoeuf, Eldar Shafir, Julia Belyavsky Bayuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Scopus citations


Participants made choices after the salience of their social identities was manipulated. Choices assimilated to the salient identity, whether that identity stemmed from a person's role (e.g., student, family member) or culture (e.g., Chinese, American). Thus, the preferences that participants expressed depended on the identity that happened to be salient at the moment of choice, with participants expressing preferences when one identity was salient that conflicted with the preferences they would express were another identity salient. These effects only arose for those who held and identified with the evoked identity. Studies further revealed that such identity-congruent choices influence post-choice satisfaction and regret: participants were less satisfied with their prior choices when the identity salient during post-choice evaluation or consumption was different from the identity salient during choice, compared to when the "choosing" and "consuming" identities were the same. Implications of the findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-61
Number of pages14
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


  • Behavioral decision theory
  • Choice
  • Identity salience
  • Post-choice satisfaction
  • Preference reversals


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