The Asymmetric Impact of Context on Advantaged Versus Disadvantaged Options

The Asymmetric Impact of Context on Advantaged Versus Disadvantaged Options

By
Ioannis Evangelidis, Jonathan Levav, Itamar Simonson
Journal of Market Research. April
2018, Vol. 55, Issue 2, Pages 239-253

Despite substantial prior research regarding the effect of context on choices, uncertainty remains regarding when particular context effects will be observed. In this article, the authors advance a new perspective on context-dependent choices, according to which context effects are a function of the relative advantage of one option over another and of the different strategies that decision makers evoke when making a choice. They propose that context effects resulting from the addition of a third option to a two-option set are more frequently observed when the added option is relatively similar (adjacent) to the “disadvantaged” alternative (i.e., the lower-share option) in the set. The authors conduct a series of studies to analyze the occurrence of context effects and find support for predictions related to asymmetric dominance and extremeness aversion.