November 16, 2018 | By Clare Becker | Back to blog

Evan Polman’s research on making decisions for others was recently featured in Harvard Business Review. He is an assistant professor of marketing and the Cynthia and Jay Ihlenfeld Professor for Inspired Learning at the Wisconsin School of Business.

Evan Polman
Evan Polman, assistant professor of marketing

In an article entitled “Why It’s Easier to Make Decisions for Someone Else,” Polman describes how we use two distinct mindsets to make decisions: a more reserved “cautious mindset” when making decisions for ourselves, and a bolder “adventurous mindset” when we decide for others.

“When people recommend what others should do, they come up with ideas and choices and solutions that are more optimistic and action-oriented, focus on more positive information and imagine more favorable consequences,” Polman notes. “Meanwhile, when making their own choices, people tend to envision everything that could go wrong, leading to doubt and second-guesses.”

In the article, Polman offers several suggestions on how we can apply his research to make better decisions.

Read the article in Harvard Business Review.

Polman’s areas of research include self-other differences in decision-making, creativity, emotions, and moral psychology.