Choice in Context: Tradeoff Contrast and Extremeness Aversion

Choice in Context: Tradeoff Contrast and Extremeness Aversion

By
Itamar Simonson, Amos Tversky
Journal of Marketing Research.
1992, Vol. 29, Issue 3, Pages 281-295

Consumer choice is often influenced by the context, defined by the set of alternatives under consideration. Two hypotheses about the effect of context on choice are proposed. The first hypothesis, tradeoff contrast, states that the tendency to prefer an alternative is enhanced or hindered depending on whether the tradeoffs within the set under consideration are favorable or unfavorable to that option. The second hypothesis, extremeness aversion, states that the attractiveness of an option is enhanced if it is an intermediate option in the choice set and is diminished if it is an extreme option. These hypotheses can explain previous findings (e.g., attraction and compromise effects) and predict some new effects, demonstrated in a series of studies with consumer product as choice alternatives. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.