Biased Predecisional Processing of Leading and Non-Leading Alternatives

13 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2013

See all articles by Simon J. Blanchard

Simon J. Blanchard

Georgetown University - Robert Emmett McDonough School of Business

Kurt A. Carlson

Mason School of Business, William and Mary; Georgetown University - Department of Marketing

Meg Meloy

Pennsylvania State University - Smeal College of Business

Date Written: October 21, 2013

Abstract

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

Blanchard, Simon J. and Carlson, Kurt A. and Meloy, Meg, Biased Predecisional Processing of Leading and Non-Leading Alternatives (October 21, 2013). Psychological Science, Forthcoming, Georgetown McDonough School of Business Research Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2343711

Simon J. Blanchard (Contact Author)

Georgetown University - Robert Emmett McDonough School of Business ( email )

3700 O Street, NW
Washington, DC 20057
United States

Kurt A. Carlson

Mason School of Business, William and Mary ( email )

P.O. Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
United States

Georgetown University - Department of Marketing ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

Meg Meloy

Pennsylvania State University - Smeal College of Business ( email )

University Park, PA 16802
United States

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