Consumers Can Make Decisions in as Little as a Third of a Second
Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 6, No. 6, pp. 520-530, 2011
11 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2012
Date Written: August 1, 2011
We make hundreds of decisions every day, many of them extremely quickly and without much explicit deliberation. This motivates two important open questions: What is the minimum time required to make choices with above chance accuracy? What is the impact of additional decision making time on choice accuracy? We investigated these questions in four experiments in which subjects made binary food choices using saccadic or manual responses, under either “speed” or “accuracy” instructions. Subjects were able to make above chance decisions in as little as 313 ms, and choose their preferred food item in over 70% of trials at average speeds of 404 ms. Further, slowing down their responses by either asking them explicitly to be confident about their choices, or to respond with hand movements, generated about a 10% increase in accuracy. Together, these results suggest that consumers can make accurate every-day choices, akin to those made in a grocery store, at significantly faster speeds than previously reported.
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