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Choice deferral can arise from absolute evaluation or relative comparison
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied
When choosing among several options, people may defer choice for either of 2 reasons: because none of the options is good enough or because there is uncertainty regarding which is the best. These reasons form the basis of the 2-stage, 2-threshold (2S2T) framework, which posits that a different kind of processing corresponds to these 2 reasons for choice deferral: absolute evaluations and relative comparisons, respectively. Three experiments are reported in which each type of processing was triggered in different conditions either via different payoff structures or different degrees of attribute knowledge. The effects of the 3 main independent variables (the size of the choice set, the utility of the best option, and the number of competitive options) differed depending on the payoff structure or attribute knowledge conditions in ways predicted by the 2S2T framework. Implications for consumer decision making, marketing, and eyewitness identification are discussed.
choice deferral, consumer decision making, uncertainty, choice set size, eyewitness identification
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