Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2019

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Business Administration

First Advisor

Nayakankuppam, Dhananjay

First Committee Member

Gaeth, Gary

Second Committee Member

Cole, Catheriine

Third Committee Member

Luangrath, Andrea

Fourth Committee Member

Windschitl, Paul


Extant attention theories explain how individuals direct attention towards different stimuli. However, the theories are relatively silent about how attention is switched off, other than the idea that attention to a stimulus may cease because another stimulus overwhelms the first in its demand for attention. We theorized that individuals have a tendency to ‘not switch off’ attention from a current process, in the absence of a competing stimulus that wrenches attention away from it. We present evidence consistent with this attentional bias – individuals continue attending to an ongoing mundane process until it reaches its ‘end’, even when that attention is normatively unwarranted, namely under conditions where (1) they cannot control or influence the process and (2) they are aware of the outcome with a reasonable degree of certainty as well. Moreover, since attention is a limited capacity resource, such attentional hijacking is negatively hedonically marked which gets mis-attributed to salient available targets. Consequently, we also demonstrate decreased positivity in attitudes towards entities associated with the incomplete process.


Attention, Attention-Chaining, Incompleteness, Misattribution


viii, 71 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 57-60).


Copyright © 2019 Sunaina Shrivastava