When we make decisions, we’re often racked with post-decision regret, constantly agonising over what life might have been like had we made a different one. Choice Closure explains the way that this can be avoided to a certain extent through the simple act of physical closure. Being able to complete a physical act of closure helps our brains to accept the finality of a choice, helping the decision-maker to move on from alternate possibilities and be much more satisfied with their choice. As humans, we are more able to grasp abstract actions through physical experiences (Johnson, 2007) and adding action and imagery to a psychological concept of closure makes it much more final for us. This physical act can be as simple as closing a menu or internet browser.
Choice Closure can help to limit unfavourable after-thoughts about a choice we’ve made and to raise satisfaction with what we have chosen. Gu, Botti & Faro (2013) conducted an experiment at the London Business School whereby people were asked to choose from a range of 24 different tea varieties. It was made very clear to them that they wouldn’t be able to alter their choice afterwards. Some people were asked to close their menu after they’d chosen and results overwhelmingly showed that these people were far more satisfied with their choice of tea than those who were simply asked to make a choice. The only difference was that one small act of closing the menu, which closed those participants’ minds off to alternate choices and post-choice regrets.
Choice Closure is a really useful tool in the commercial world as it can help to vastly improve customer satisfaction post-sale, which leads to repeat business and future sales. Offering some kind of Choice Closure to customers is particularly beneficial when a large range of options are available, as this incites the Choice Paradox (whereby people tend to be overwhelmed by options and often can’t make a decision and, if they do, are more likely to be plagued by post-decision regret).