Relative Visual Saliency Differences Induce Sizable Bias in Consumer Choice

Journal of Consumer Psychology, Vol. 22, No. 1, 2012

9 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2012 Last revised: 5 Mar 2012

Milica Milosavljevic Mormann

University of Miami

Vidhya Navalpakkam

Yahoo! Research Labs

Christof Koch

California Institute of Technology

Antonio Rangel

California Institute of Technology

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Consumers often need to make very rapid choices among multiple brands (e.g., at a supermarket shelf) that differ both in their reward value (e.g., taste) and in their visual properties (e.g., color and brightness of the packaging). Since the visual properties of stimuli are known to influence visual attention, and attention is known to influence choices, this gives rise to a potential visual saliency bias in choices. We utilize experimental design from visual neuroscience in three real food choice experiments to measure the size of the visual saliency bias and how it changes with decision speed and cognitive load. Our results show that at rapid decision speeds visual saliency influences choices more than preferences do, that the bias increases with cognitive load, and that it is particularly strong when individuals do not have strong preferences among the options.

Keywords: Decision making, Reward, Visual saliency, Attention, Packaging, Consumer choice

Suggested Citation

Mormann, Milica Milosavljevic and Navalpakkam, Vidhya and Koch, Christof and Rangel, Antonio, Relative Visual Saliency Differences Induce Sizable Bias in Consumer Choice (2012). Journal of Consumer Psychology, Vol. 22, No. 1, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1998433

Milica Milosavljevic Mormann (Contact Author)

University of Miami ( email )

Coral Gables, FL 33124
United States

Vidhya Navalpakkam

Yahoo! Research Labs ( email )

Pasadena, CA 91103
United States

Christof Koch

California Institute of Technology ( email )

Pasadena, CA 91125
United States

Antonio Rangel

California Institute of Technology ( email )

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