IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Goal-Based Construction of Preferences: Task Goals and the Prominence Effect

  • Gregory W. Fischer

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

  • Ziv Carmon

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

  • Dan Ariely

    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139)

  • Gal Zauberman

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

Registered author(s):

    Preferences inferred from choice are more likely to favor the alternative that is superior with respect to the prominent (most important or salient) attribute than are preferences inferred from matching (direct tradeoff) judgments. This prominence effect violates standard models of rational choice and complicates the task of measuring preferences. In this article, we propose a new task-goal hypothesisregarding the prominence effect: The prominent attribute receives more weight in tasks whose goal is to differentiate among options than in tasks whose goal is to equate options. We use this hypothesis to generalize the prominence effect beyond choice and matching to several additional tasks, including the choice-based matching and difference comparison methods that are widely employed in decision analysis. The results of three studies provide strong support for the task-goal account of the prominence effect and cast doubt on competing explanations. We discuss the implications of these findings for descriptive decision theory and for preference measurement in decision analysis, public policy, and marketing.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.45.8.1057
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 45 (1999)
    Issue (Month): 8 (August)
    Pages: 1057-1075

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:45:y:1999:i:8:p:1057-1075
    Contact details of provider: Postal: 7240 Parkway Drive, Suite 300, Hanover, MD 21076 USA
    Phone: +1-443-757-3500
    Fax: 443-757-3515
    Web page: http://www.informs.org/
    Email:


    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:45:y:1999:i:8:p:1057-1075. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.