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First evidence for the backup plan paradox


Napolitano, Christopher M; Freund, Alexandra M (2017). First evidence for the backup plan paradox. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 146(8):1189-1203.

Abstract

This research is a first test of the backup plan paradox. We hypothesized that investing in a backup plan may facilitate the conditions that it was developed to address: Plan A's insufficiency. Five studies provide initial, primarily correlative support for the undermining effect of investing in a backup plan. Study 1 (n= 160) demonstrated that the more participants perceived they had invested in developing a backup plan (preparing a "crib sheet"), the more likely they were to use it, although greater investments were unrelated to backup plan utility. Studies 2-4 used a simulated negotiation task. Study 2 (n = 247) demonstrated that when goal-relevant resources are limited, investing in developing backup plans and perceiving them as highly instrumental can decrease goal performance through the indirect effect of increased means replacing. Study 3 (n = 248) replicated this effect when goal-relevant resources were plentiful. Study 4 (n = 204) used an experimental variant of the simulated negotiation task and demonstrated that simply having a backup plan is not detrimental, but perceiving backup plans to be highly instrumental decreased goal performance, again through the indirect effect of increased means replacing. Study 5 (n = 160) replicated findings from Studies 1-4 using a lab-based motor task (throwing a ball). Together, these results provide first evidence that backup plans can introduce costs that may jeopardize goal performance. (PsycINFO Database Record)

Abstract

This research is a first test of the backup plan paradox. We hypothesized that investing in a backup plan may facilitate the conditions that it was developed to address: Plan A's insufficiency. Five studies provide initial, primarily correlative support for the undermining effect of investing in a backup plan. Study 1 (n= 160) demonstrated that the more participants perceived they had invested in developing a backup plan (preparing a "crib sheet"), the more likely they were to use it, although greater investments were unrelated to backup plan utility. Studies 2-4 used a simulated negotiation task. Study 2 (n = 247) demonstrated that when goal-relevant resources are limited, investing in developing backup plans and perceiving them as highly instrumental can decrease goal performance through the indirect effect of increased means replacing. Study 3 (n = 248) replicated this effect when goal-relevant resources were plentiful. Study 4 (n = 204) used an experimental variant of the simulated negotiation task and demonstrated that simply having a backup plan is not detrimental, but perceiving backup plans to be highly instrumental decreased goal performance, again through the indirect effect of increased means replacing. Study 5 (n = 160) replicated findings from Studies 1-4 using a lab-based motor task (throwing a ball). Together, these results provide first evidence that backup plans can introduce costs that may jeopardize goal performance. (PsycINFO Database Record)

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:August 2017
Deposited On:23 Jan 2018 12:23
Last Modified:27 Mar 2018 19:36
Publisher:American Psychological Association
ISSN:0096-3445
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0000331
PubMed ID:28627908

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