Our decisions have a temporally distributed order, and different choice orders (e.g., choosing preferred items first or last) can lead to vastly different experiences. We previously found two dominant strategies (favorite-first and favorite-last) in a preference-based serial choice setting (the 'sushi problem'). However, it remains unclear why these two opposite behavioral patterns arise: i.e., the mechanisms underlying them. Here we developed a novel serial-choice task, using pictures based on attractiveness, to test for a possible shared mechanism with delay discounting, the 'peak-end' bias (i.e., preference for experienced sequences that end well), or working-memory capacity. We also collected psychological and clinical metric data on personality, depression, anxiety, and emotion regulation. We again found the two dominant selection strategies. However, the results of the delay, peak-end bias, and memory capacity tasks were not related to serial choice, while two key psychological metrics were: emotion regulation and conscientiousness (with agreeableness also marginally related). Favorite-first strategists actually regulated emotions better, suggesting better tolerance of negative outcomes. Whereas participants with more varied strategies across trials were more conscientious (and perhaps agreeable), suggesting that they were less willing to settle for a single, simpler strategy. Our findings clarify mechanisms underlying serial choice and show that it may reflect a unique ability to organize choices into sequences of events.