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

See all articles by Milica Milosavljevic Mormann

Milica Milosavljevic Mormann

Southern Methodist University (SMU) - Marketing Department

Christof Koch

California Institute of Technology - Division of Biology

Antonio Rangel

California Institute of Technology

Date Written: August 1, 2011

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Mormann, Milica Milosavljevic and Koch, Christof and Rangel, Antonio, Consumers Can Make Decisions in as Little as a Third of a Second (August 1, 2011). Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 6, No. 6, pp. 520-530, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1998456

Milica Milosavljevic Mormann (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University (SMU) - Marketing Department ( email )

United States

Christof Koch

California Institute of Technology - Division of Biology ( email )

Pasadena, CA 91125
United States

Antonio Rangel

California Institute of Technology ( email )

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