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Time Pressure Bias


Time pressure causes a higher propensity of decision makers to shift from logical and rational processes to intuitive processes.


Decisions under time pressure often result in impulsive decisions. Examples of this include a “limited time offer” during an infomercial, the candy section in the checkout aisle, or a countdown on a booking website claiming that “your booking is reserved for X minutes”. In all of these situations companies want to reduce the likelihood that shoppers compare alternatives or rationally think about whether they really need a product.

What to watch out for

Be on your guard for artificial time pressure 

Time pressure bias can impede your decision making negatively. Therefore, you must always be sure that the situation at hand actually has real time pressure and is not used by the other party to influence you. If you find yourself in such a situation, remain calm and try to change or negotiate the artificial deadline.

Use this tactic sparingly

If you want to leverage the time pressure bias to get better results, be sure that you use it in the right way. People might make decisions they end up regretting and can become unhappy customers or partners. It is better to have one customer less than having an unhappy one!

Further reading

Time Pressure
Timing in Multitasking
Barriers to Decision Making

Paul Hanke
Post by Paul Hanke
October 26, 2022

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