Prominence Versus Dominance: How Relationships Between Alternatives Drive Decision Strategy and Choice

Prominence Versus Dominance: How Relationships Between Alternatives Drive Decision Strategy and Choice

By
Ioannis Evangelidis, Jonathan Levav
Journal of Marketing Research. December
2013, Vol. 50, Issue 6, Pages 753-766

This article argues that the structure of a choice set can influence the extent to which consumers weight a given attribute. The results of seven experiments suggest that the relationship between options under consideration can influence preference ordering by shifting the decision strategy people adopt when constructing their preference. In decisions in which people afford greater importance to one attribute versus another, preference for an option that scores high on this prominent attribute may decrease when decoy options that are clearly better or worse than the focal options are inserted into the choice set. The authors posit that this effect arises because decision makers initially (and spontaneously) use dominance cues rather than prominence when evaluating options, and they continue to use this strategy even when it does not enable them to differentiate the alternatives under consideration. The authors moderate this effect by prompting respondents to consider prominence and by manipulating the order in which respondents evaluate options in the choice set. This article has theoretical implications for research on context effects, contingent decision behavior, and choice architecture as well as practical implications for product-line management.