The Role of Memory in Search and Choice

50 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2014 Last revised: 24 Aug 2014

See all articles by Adam Sanjurjo

Adam Sanjurjo

Universidad de Alicante - Departamento de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico

Date Written: August 23, 2014

Abstract

The choice literature has recently called for a better understanding of how people form the consideration sets of alternatives from which they choose, and the role of cognitive limitations on the choice process. This study makes advances on both fronts by introducing, and analyzing, a model of working memory load -- a well-known cognitive bottleneck in decision-making -- in pre-choice search behavior. The model allows testable predictions about how consideration sets are formed, can explain several puzzling patterns of behavior observed in rich search and choice settings, and when tested in an experiment is found to track choice error rates well. Further, the model allows observed search behavior to be used not only to reveal what alternatives are being considered for choice, but also to predict when a choice error is more likely to occur, which is useful for assessing the welfare implications of observed choices.

Keywords: Consumer Choice, Search Theory, Bounded Rationality, Procedural Cognition, Working Memory, Multiple Attributes, Information Overload, Eye-tracking

JEL Classification: D11, D12, D81, D83

Suggested Citation

Sanjurjo, Adam, The Role of Memory in Search and Choice (August 23, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2479561 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2479561

Adam Sanjurjo (Contact Author)

Universidad de Alicante - Departamento de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico ( email )

Campus de San Vicente
Alicante, 03690
Spain

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/adamangelsanjurjo/

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