Biased Predecisional Processing of Leading and Non-Leading Alternatives
13 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2013
Date Written: October 21, 2013
When individuals obtain information about choice alternatives in a set one attribute at a time, they rapidly identify a leading alternative. Although previous research has established that individuals then distort incoming information, it is unclear whether distortion occurs through favoring of the leading alternative, through disfavoring of the trailing alternative or both. Prior examinations have not explored the predecisional treatment of the non-leading alternative(s) because they conceptualized distortion as a singular construct in binary choice and measured it using a relative item comparing the evaluation of both alternatives simultaneously. The current work conceptualizes and introduces a measure of distortion at the level of the alternative, allowing for the measurement of predecisional distortion to favor or disfavor every alternative being considered in choice sets of various sizes. We show that both pro-leader and anti-trailer distortion occur, and that the use of anti-trailer processing differs between binary and multiple options choices.
Keywords: biases, decision making, predecisional distortion, pro-leader distortion, anti-trailer distortion
JEL Classification: M3, M30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation