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Working paper

‘Fateful’ vs. ‘everyday’ choices: qualitative differences in choice situations and the dimensions of choicework

The study was focused on choicework in situations of different subjective importance. Psychology students (N=74) and Internet sample respondents (N=1833) were asked to recollect several choice situations of varying importance from their experience and to name, describe, and evaluate them using a number of self-report measures. Combining qualitative and quantitative data analysis, we devised a series of qualitative indicators of choicework (context and content of choice, emotional attitude to choice process, satisfaction with choice, its mindfulness, autonomy, difficulty, and significance) and compared the choice situations on these parameters. Significant and trivial choices differed on a number of variables (more significant situations were characterized by more complicated and conscious choicework). Choice situations with different thematic content also differed in their subjective importance and other parameters of choicework. The results imply the necessity to consider the scale of significance and the thematic content of situations used in choice studies.