Extremeness Seeking: When and Why Consumers Prefer the Extremes
40 Pages Posted: 20 May 2007
Date Written: May 2007
Decision researchers have long been interested in behaviors that deviate from rational choice. Of these, the compromise effect has received considerable attention, with it repeatedly shown that the probability of choosing an item increases when that item is a middling, as opposed to extreme, alternative in a choice set. The term extremeness avoidance has been used to describe the reason underlying this phenomenon. In this research, we argue that extremeness avoidance behavior depends on assortment type, with consumers displaying extremeness avoidance for alignable assortments, but systematically and predictably displaying extremeness seeking for non-alignable assortments. Across three studies, we show the extremeness seeking effect, contrast it with extremeness avoidance, and explore its underlying cause.
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