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Thesis defences

PhD Oral Exam - Tanya Singh, Marketing

Exploring Novel Antecedents and Consequences of Choice Deferral

Wednesday, August 3, 2022 (all day)

This event is free


School of Graduate Studies


Daniela Ferrer



When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.

Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.


This dissertation explores novel antecedents and consequences of choice deferral. Choice deferral is a common consumer phenomenon wherein consumers put off making choices due to choice conflict during a decision task. In the first chapter, I summarize extant research in choice deferral and describe research in the related domains of procrastination and choice delay. Based on existing research, I propose a novel consequence of choice deferral. In chapter 2, I examine the impact of choice deferral on deferral on subsequent unrelated choice tasks. Across four studies, I find evidence for a novel 'deferral momentum' effect, such that initial choice deferral begets subsequent choice deferral. I examine decision confidence as a potential mechanism of this effect and find evidence to support my predictions. Finally, in the chapter 3, I investigate how the degree of choice conflict on initial choice impacts subsequent choice deferral. Across four studies, I find that choice conflict can counterintuitively decrease incidence of choice deferral. I argue this occurs because a conflict mindset can facilitate evaluation of contrasting information and attributes, thus facilitating tradeoffs and reducing deferral. My dissertation aims to expand our understanding of how choice deferral and its determinants can impact subsequent choices. My findings have important implications, both for consumer behavior scholars and marketing practitioners.

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