Recent research suggesting that people who maximize are less happy than those who satisfice has received considerable fanfare. The current study investigates whether this conclusion reflects the construct itself or rather how it is measured. We developed an alternative measure of maximizing tendency that is theory-based, has good psychometric properties, and predicts behavioral outcomes. In contrast to the existing maximization measure, our new measure did not correlate with life (dis)satisfaction, nor with most maladaptive personality and decision-making traits. We conclude that the interpretation of maximizers as unhappy may be due to poor measurement of the construct. We present a more reliable and valid measure for future researchers to use.
Highhouse, Scott Edward; Diab, Dalia L.; and Gillespie, Michael A., "Are Maximizers Really Unhappy? The Measurement of Maximizing Tendency" (2008). Psychology Faculty Publications. 7.
Judgment and Decision Making Journal
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Social Judgment & Decision Making