Jennifer M. Bonds-Raacke, Ph.D.
TITLE: Psychology Department Chair, Fort Hayes State University
COMPANY: Fort Hayes State University
Advisor: Dr. Richard J. Harris
Processes in husband-wife decision-making in selecting movies and restaurants
Many other disciplines including marketing, sociology, and family studies, to name a few, have studied husband-wife decision-making by focusing on issues such as power and dominance in the relationship to explain behavior. Psychology, however, has been slower than other fields to take advantage of studying marriages in different domains of psychological inquiry. The current experiments examined husband-wife decision-making from a cognitive psychology perspective. The use of a cognitive perspective has many benefits. For example, it can bring to the literature a discussion of how husband and wives think and process information as a couple when making decisions. It also allows for couples' decision-making strategies to be examined to determine if common decision-making strategies exist. This change in focus would thus place more emphasis on the cognitive processes and outcomes rather than a discussion surrounding whether the husband or wife primarily prevailed in the joint decision.
For the current experiments, participants (26 couples) watched 6 movie trailers for movies to be released in the next few months. The trailers varied by type of movie [i.e., romantic comedy, science fiction, and drama] and the popularity of the cast [i.e., well known and not well known actor(s)/actress(es)] yielding a 3 x 2 within-subjects design. After viewing each movie trailer, participants indicated how likely they would be to go and view the movie. Participants completed the task first independently and then jointly.
Next, participants viewed 6 sample restaurant menus that varied by type of restaurant (i.e., steakhouse, seafood, and Italian) and familiarity with restaurant (i.e., well known and not well known) yielding a 3 x 2 within-subjects design. After viewing each sample restaurant menu, participants indicated how likely they would be to eat at the restaurant. Again, ratings were first made independently and then jointly.
Cluster analysis indicated that 4 common decision-making strategies existed when making likelihood ratings for movies and 3 common decision-making strategies existed when making likelihood ratings for restaurants. Future research should consider investigating how decisions are made between couples to consume other forms of media and how decision-making strategies change when couples must consider their children in the decision-making process.
Ph.D., Psychology, Kansas State University, 2004