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CONSUMERS’ PREFERENCE FOR CHOICE STRATEGIES EXAMINED IN TWO TASK DOMAINS pp. 151-167 $100.00
Authors:  Gesine E. Ziebarth and Xiao-Tian Wang, Univ. of South Dakota, Vermillion, USA
Abstract:
We examined how people select and weight the attributes of choice options and use
decision strategies (rules and heuristics) to make public and consumer choices. The
strategies we tested were step-by-step decision guidelines proposed by researchers of
behavioral decision making and consumer choice. These choice strategies included the
well-known Multi-Attribute Utility Theory (MAUT) model, the Additive Difference
(AD) principle, the “Take the Best” (TTB) heuristic, and also the newly proposed
Minimum Requirement (MR) heuristic, and the “Take the Best” on your Minimum
Requirement (TTB-MR) heuristic. These decision strategies differed in their normality,
complexity, and reference-point dependency. The study employed a two (domains) by
five (strategies) within-subject design. Participants were given actual information of four
automobile options to evaluate and choose from and, with a balanced order, four actual
social security reform proposals to evaluate and choose from. After indicating their initial
choice preference, the experimenter and the participant worked one-on-one together to
construct a fact table for each of the two choice tasks. Each fact table included the
individualized issues/attributes that the participant agreed to be essential for their choice.
They then rated the importance of and minimum requirement for each attribute, and
reviewed attribute values across the four choice alternatives in each task domain. The
experimenter then introduced the choice strategies one at a time and assisted the
participant in evaluating choice options according to each of the five choice strategies.
Finally, the participant was asked to rate each choice strategy in terms of how consistent
it was with their own, spontaneous decision process, and in terms of its overall
attractiveness. The results revealed a significant preference for reference-point dependent
heuristics (MR and TTB-MR) over reference-point independent strategies (MAUT, AD,
TTB), particularly in the public choice domain for consuming ideology. Moreover, an
analysis of the strategies’ goodness of fit with the actual choices made by the participants
showed that in the public choice domain the reference-point dependent heuristics had the
best fit, while in the consumer choice domain MAUT exhibited the best fit. These findings offer further evidence for heuristic choice mechanisms in making real life
decisions, as well as implications for the development of behavioral decision aids. 


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CONSUMERS’ PREFERENCE FOR CHOICE STRATEGIES EXAMINED IN TWO TASK DOMAINS pp. 151-167