Planning to deliberate thoroughly: If-then planned deliberation increases the adjustment of decisions to newly available information

Johannes T. Doerflinger, Torsten Martiny-Huenger, Peter M. Gollwitzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Planning our actions in advance is an important means of action control and increases the likelihood of initiating intended actions at critical points in time (Gollwitzer, 1999; Gollwitzer & Oettingen, 2016). In the current research, we investigate whether planning to deliberate thoroughly can also increase the likelihood of deliberation when it is needed. As an increase in deliberation is often associated with more thorough use of available information, we predict that planning to deliberate causes people to adjust their current course of action more closely to newly available information. We test this prediction in three experiments in which the participants are faced with the decision to continue with or disengage from a chosen course of action after new information has become available. The first experiment uses an established escalation of commitment paradigm (Study 1); the second and third experiment use a more naturalistic task based on the card game of poker (Studies 2 & 3). In all three studies, planning to deliberate at a critical point in time by forming implementation intentions reduced the tendency to stick to a failing course of action, suggesting that plans to deliberate can be used to increase the likelihood of deliberation and thereby the effective processing of newly available information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017



  • Decision making
  • Escalation of commitment
  • Implementation intentions
  • Information processing
  • Poker
  • Self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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