Marketing Letters

, 19:229 | Cite as

Reinforcement versus balance response in sequential choice

  • Joel Huber
  • Kelly Goldsmith
  • Cassie Mogilner


Psychologists often explore the impact of one act on a subsequent related act. With an eye to the marketing literature, this paper explores two properties of sequential choices that involve the resolution of competing goals. Reinforcement occurs when the goals driving the first choice are made stronger by that choice and result in a congruent subsequent choice. Balance occurs when the first choice satisfies or extinguishes the goals that led to the original decision, producing an incongruent subsequent choice. This review examines a number of psychological frameworks that account for reinforcement or balance responses in sequential choice and identifies theoretically relevant moderating variables that lead to either response.


Sequential choice Reinforcement Balance 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Duke UniversityDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Yale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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