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Is intuition better than rationality? The effect of pre-decisional strategy on occupational interest forecasting in Chinese college students

Di Lu (College of Psychology, Northeast Normal University, Changchun, China)
Run Kai Jiao (College of Psychology, Northeast Normal University, Changchun, China)
Fei-Fei Li (College of Psychology, Northeast Normal University, Changchun, China) (College of Education, Wenzhou University, Wenzhou, China)
Hang Yin (College of Psychology, Northeast Normal University, Changchun, China)
Xiaoqing Lin (College of Psychology, Northeast Normal University, Changchun, China)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 20 December 2022

Issue publication date: 31 January 2023

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Abstract

Purpose

Previous studies showed that the unconscious-intuitive strategy resulted in a better choice for it is more predictive of actual interest. This benefit may be influenced by occupational engagement, for the dual process of career decisions takes it as a tool for multidevelopment and optimal adjustment. Thus, we replicated (and extended) the study of Motl et al. (2018) through two experiments to identify the role of three pre-decisional strategies and then explore the combined effects of occupational engagement and these strategies. The purpose of this paper is to address these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors replicated (and extended) the study of Motl et al. (2018) through two experiments. First, both studies adopted generalized linear mixed-effects models for statistical analyses to distinguish random and fixed effects. Second, Study 2 used a computer-based process-tracing program called “Mouselab” to explore the effect of the pre-decisional strategy self-generated on participants' interest appraisals over time.

Findings

Study 1 found that engagement helped promote participants' interest experience when decisions as usual and the intuitive strategy did not produce optimal choices. Further, people with more prior knowledge about situations no longer achieved as many benefits from their allocated strategy (i.e. rational strategy) as those with less. Study 2 failed to find adequate advantages of the intuitive strategy. Specifically, people with less search depth (the heuristic-intuitive strategy) were more interested in their choices. Nevertheless, when the strategy was manipulated as variability of search (VS), it only found the promotion of engagement, but it neither found the interaction between engagement and strategy nor did strategy itself.

Originality/value

The present paper provides mixed support for adaptive career decision-making. Career counselors can use occupational engagement levels as a reference for pre-decisional strategy selection and coach clients to adopt a proper decision-making process/method to make interest forecasts.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding: The study was funded by a major project of Philosophy and Social Science Research, the Ministry of Education, called “The research on the construction of high-quality kindergarten principals in China” [Award number: 16JZD050] and a key project of Jilin Association of Higher Education, called “Research on the current situation, influencing factors and promotion strategies of college teachers’ professional calling in Jilin province” [Award number: JGJX2002B29].

Citation

Lu, D., Jiao, R.K., Li, F.-F., Yin, H. and Lin, X. (2023), "Is intuition better than rationality? The effect of pre-decisional strategy on occupational interest forecasting in Chinese college students", Career Development International, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 121-142. https://doi.org/10.1108/CDI-04-2022-0100

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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