"I Know What I Like" - Indecisiveness Is Unrelated to Behavioral Indicators of Evaluation Difficulties

Helmut Appel, Birte Englich, Juliane Burghardt

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

3 Citations (Scopus)


Indecisiveness, the subjective inability to make satisfying decisions, is an individual difference trait that may impede effective actions. Mechanisms underlying indecisiveness are largely unknown. In four studies, we tested the prediction that indicators of evaluation difficulty were associated with indecisiveness in simple evaluations. Across studies, indecisiveness was measured via self-report while evaluation difficulties were derived behaviorally from three indicators: difficulty distinguishing between similar evaluation objects (i.e., standard deviation of evaluation ratings), evaluation duration (reaction times), and implicit evaluations (evaluative priming effect) using familiar everyday objects. Study 1 (N = 151) was based on attractiveness evaluations of portraits. Studies 2a (N = 201) and 2b (N = 211) used chocolate as evaluation objects and manipulated to what extent the evaluations were equivalent to a decision. In Study 3 (N = 80) evaluations were measured implicitly through evaluative priming using food pictures. Contrary to our predictions, indecisiveness showed no reliable association to any indicator of evaluation difficulty, regardless of type of evaluation object, equivalence of evaluation and decision, and whether evaluation difficulty was based on explicit or implicit evaluations. All null findings were supported by Bayes factors. These counterintuitive results are a first step toward investigating evaluation processes as potential mechanisms underlying indecisiveness, showing that for both explicit and implicit measurements, indecisiveness is not characterized by difficulties when evaluating familiar everyday objects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number710880
Pages (from-to)710880
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2021


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