The cognitive underpinnings of option generation in everyday life decision-making: A latent variable analysis

Abstract

The ability to generate options for action is crucial for everyday life decision-making. In this article, we propose and test a model of the cognitive underpinnings of option generation in everyday life situations. We carried out a laboratory study using measures of a wide range of cognitive functions and asked participants (Ntextequals157) to generate options for actions for different everyday life decision-making scenarios. The results of a latent variable analysis show that the cognitive underpinnings of option generation are consistent across different everyday life situations and, hence, option generation can be conceptualized as a general construct. Moreover, the results of a confirmatory factor analysis reveal that, when controlling for the shared variance among the cognitive processes assessed, verbal fluency, working memory capacity, ideation fluency, and processing speed predicted option generation. These findings suggest that option generation in everyday life situations can be distinguished from other cognitive constructs, such as divergent thinking (in terms of ideas’ originality) and long-term memory.

Publication
Cognitive Science 42: 2562–2591