Let's be honest about the attraction effect
Frederick, Lee, and Baskin (2014) and Yang and Lynn (2014) argue that the conditions for obtaining the attraction effect are so restrictive that the practical validity of the attraction effect should be questioned. In this commentary, the authors first ground the attraction (asymmetric dominance) effect in its historical context as a test of an important theoretical assumption from rational choice theory. Drawing on the research reported by scholars from many fields of study, the authors argue that the finding of an asymmetric dominance effect remains robust because it holds when the conditions of the study are essentially replicated. Next, the authors identify some of the factors that mitigate (and amplify) the attraction effect and then position the effect into a larger theoretical debate involving the extent to which preferences are constructed versus merely revealed. The authors conclude by arguing that researchers who try to measure values as well as choice architects who attempt to shape values must be sensitive to the context-dependent properties of choice behavior, as illustrated by the attraction effect. © 2014, American Marketing Association.
Huber, J; Payne, JW; Puto, CP
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