Consumer Preference for a No‐Choice Option

  • Dhar R
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Abstract

The traditional focus in the decision-making literature has been on understanding how consumers choose among a given set of alternatives. The notion that preference uncertainty may lead to choice deferral when no single alternative has a decisive advantage is tested in seven studies. Building on recent research, the article shows that the decision to defer choice is influenced by the absolute difference in attractiveness among the alternatives provided and is not consistent with trade-off difficulty or the theory of search. These findings are then extended to show that choice deferral can also be modified for the same alternatives by manipulations that make them appear more similar in attractiveness, or that decrease the need to differentiate among them. The results are consistent with the notion that preference uncertainty results in a hesitation to commit to any single action since small differences in attractiveness among the alternatives are potentially reversible. Consistent with this premise, the effect of attractiveness difference on choice deferral decreased significantly when subjects were first allowed to practice making monetary trade-offs among the available alternatives. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of Journal of Consumer Research is the property of Oxford University Press / USA and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

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Authors

  • Ravi Dhar

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