In natural decision situations, the decision space and structure are based on the decision maker's subjective perceptions. Individual differences in compensatory decision-making style and need for closure were hypothesized to associate with the subjective complexity of a natural decision-making structure and with its perceived difficulty. These associations were investigated among 120 high school students choosing a major. In a standard educational decision situation, we found that compensatory decision-making style and need for closure influenced the subjective complexity of the decision task defined by the numbers of alternatives and dimensions in the decision space considered by decision makers. Subjective decision complexity was related to perceived decision difficulty. Subjective complexity was revealed to be multi-dimensional, with differential associations between its two components (alternatives and dimensions) and the other investigated variables. The findings were interpreted as indicating the complex person-situation links operating during the decision making process.
- Decision making; individual differences; compensatory style; need for closure; decision difficulties