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Attribute Conflict and Preference Uncertainty: Effects on Judgment Time and Error

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  • Gregory W. Fischer

    ()
    (Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708)

  • Mary Frances Luce

    ()
    (The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104)

  • Jianmin Jia

    ()
    (Faculty of Business Administration, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong)

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    Abstract

    This research investigates preference uncertainty generated as a function of specific alternative characteristics during multiattribute evaluative judgments. We propose that preference uncertainty has at least two behavioral manifestations: longer judgment times and greater response error in expressed preferences. We investigate two hypotheses regarding stimulus-based causes of preference uncertainty. As predicted by our attribute conflict hypothesis, greater within-alternative conflict (discrepancy among the attributes of an evaluative alternative) led to longer judgment times and greater response error. As predicted by our attribute extremity hypothesis, greater attribute extremity (very high or low attribute values) resulted in shorter judgment times and less response error. We also found that judgment times and response errors were strongly positively correlated at the item level, consistent with our assumption that preference uncertainty generated by stimulus characteristics is manifested in judgment time and error. Finally, we found that the item-level preference uncertainty effects proposed here operate in parallel with strategy-level, effort-accuracy tradeoffs observable across participants. These findings are consistent with the RandMAU random multiattribute utility model developed in a companion article by Fischer et al. (2000).

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.46.1.88.15131
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 46 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 88-103

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:46:y:2000:i:1:p:88-103

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    Cited by:
    1. Scholten, Marc, 2002. "Conflict-mediated choice," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 683-718, July.
    2. Conlon, B.J. & Dellaert, B.G.C. & Soest, A.H.O. van, 2001. "Optimal Effort in Consumer Choice: Theory and Experimental Evidence for Binary Choice," Discussion Paper 2001-51, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    3. Kräussl, Roman & Lucas, André & Siegmann, Arjen, 2012. "Risk aversion under preference uncertainty," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 1-7.
    4. Conlon, B.J. & Dellaert, B.G.C. & Soest, A.H.O. van, 2001. "Complexity and Accuracy in Consumer Choice: The Double Benefits of Being the Consistently Better Brand," Discussion Paper 2001-54, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    5. Palmeira, Mauricio M. & Krishnan, H. Shanker, 2008. "Criteria instability and the isolated option effect," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 153-167, July.
    6. Deparis, Stéphane & Mousseau, Vincent & Öztürk, Meltem & Pallier, Christophe & Huron, Caroline, 2012. "When conflict induces the expression of incomplete preferences," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 221(3), pages 593-602.
    7. Haiyan Xu & Keith Hipel & D. Kilgour & Ye Chen, 2010. "Combining strength and uncertainty for preferences in the graph model for conflict resolution with multiple decision makers," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 69(4), pages 497-521, October.
    8. Simsek, Zeki & Lubatkin, Michael H. & Veiga, John F. & Dino, Richard N., 2009. "The role of an entrepreneurially alert information system in promoting corporate entrepreneurship," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 62(8), pages 810-817, August.

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