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Not Just for Consumers: Context Effects Are Fundamental to Decision Making
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-18, 08:13 authored by Trueblood, JS, Brown, SD, Heathcote, A, Busemeyer, JR
Context effects—preference changes that depend on the availability of other options—have attracted a great deal of attention among consumer researchers studying high-level decision tasks. In the experiments reported here, we showed that these effects also arise in simple perceptual-decision-making tasks. This finding casts doubt on explanations limited to consumer choice and high-level decisions, and it indicates that context effects may be amenable to a general explanation at the level of the basic decision process. We demonstrated for the first time that three important context effects from the preferential-choice literature—similarity, attraction, and compromise effects—all occurred within a single perceptual-decision task. Not only do our results challenge previous explanations for context effects proposed by consumer researchers, but they also challenge the choice rules assumed in theories of perceptual decision making.
Publication titlePsychological Science
Department/SchoolTasmanian School of Medicine
Place of publication350 Main Street, Ste 6, Malden, USA, Ma, 02148
Rights statementCopyright 2013 The Author(s)