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Will Products Look More Attractive When Presented Separately or Together?


  • Hsee, Christopher K
  • Leclerc, France


This research examines whether each of two different options of comparable overall quality will be perceived more positively when presented in isolation and evaluated separately (separate evaluation) or when juxtaposed and evaluated side by side (joint evaluation). Six studies, involving either judgment or choice as the dependent variable, reveal a general principle: If the focal options are already attractive (relative to their natural reference) in separate evaluation, then subjecting these options to joint evaluation will hurt their attractiveness. If the focal options are unattractive (relative to their reference) in separate evaluation, subjecting them to joint evaluation will enhance their attractiveness. Copyright 1998 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Hsee, Christopher K & Leclerc, France, 1998. " Will Products Look More Attractive When Presented Separately or Together?," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(2), pages 175-186, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jconrs:v:25:y:1998:i:2:p:175-86

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    Cited by:

    1. Muthukrishnan, A. V. & Pham, Michel Tuan & Mungale, Amitabh, 1999. "Comparison Opportunity and Judgment Revision," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 228-251, December.
    2. Amos Schurr & Yaakov Kareev & Judith Avrahami & Ilana Ritov, 2012. "Taking the Broad Perspective: Risky Choices in Repeated Proficiency Tasks," Discussion Paper Series dp621, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
    3. Moore, Don A., 1999. "Order Effects in Preference Judgments: Evidence for Context Dependence in the Generation of Preferences, ," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 146-165, May.
    4. Bartels, Daniel M., 2006. "Proportion dominance: The generality and variability of favoring relative savings over absolute savings," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 76-95, May.
    5. Larson, Ronald B., 2006. "Core Principles for Supermarket Aisle Management," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 37(01), March.
    6. Eugene J. S. Won, 2007. "—A Theoretical Investigation of the Effects of Similarity on Brand Choice Using the Elimination-by-Tree Model," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(6), pages 868-875, 11-12.
    7. Bond, Samuel D. & Carlson, Kurt A. & Meloy, Margaret G. & Russo, J. Edward & Tanner, Robin J., 2007. "Information distortion in the evaluation of a single option," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 240-254, March.
    8. Sevdalis, Nick & Harvey, Nigel, 2006. "Determinants of willingness to pay in separate and joint evaluations of options: Context matters," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 377-385, June.
    9. Willemsen, Martijn C. & Keren, Gideon, 2002. "Negative-based prominence: the role of negative features in matching and choice," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 643-666, July.
    10. Barbos, Andrei, 2010. "Context effects: A representation of choices from categories," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(3), pages 1224-1243, May.
    11. Rojas, Mariano, 2012. "Do People in Income Poverty Use Their Income Efficiently? : a Subjective Well-Being Approach," WIDER Working Paper Series 110, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    12. Christopoulos, George & Kokkinaki, Flora & Harvey, Nigel & Sevdalis, Nick, 2011. "Paying for no reason? (Mis-)perceptions of product attributes in separate vs. joint product evaluation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 857-864.
    13. Steven Posavac & Frank Kardes & David Sanbonmatsu & Gavan Fitzsimons, 2005. "Blissful Insularity: When Brands are Judged in Isolation from Competitors," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 87-97, April.
    14. Hasford, Jonathan & Farmer, Adam, 2016. "Responsible you, despicable me: Contrasting competitor inferences from socially responsible behavior," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 1234-1241.
    15. Posavac, Steven S. & Kardes, Frank R. & Josko Brakus, J., 2010. "Focus induced tunnel vision in managerial judgment and decision making: The peril and the antidote," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 102-111, November.
    16. Shahar Ayal & Guy Hochman & Dan Zakay, 2011. "Two sides of the same coin: Information processing style and reverse biases," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 6(4), pages 295-306, June.
    17. Kwon, Kyoung-Nan & Lee, Jinkook, 2009. "The effects of reference point, knowledge, and risk propensity on the evaluation of financial products," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 62(7), pages 719-725, July.
    18. Botti, Simona & Hsee, Christopher K., 2010. "Dazed and confused by choice: How the temporal costs of choice freedom lead to undesirable outcomes," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 112(2), pages 161-171, July.
    19. 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.
    20. repec:eee:touman:v:35:y:2013:i:c:p:1-12 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Charness, Gary & Gneezy, Uri & Kuhn, Michael A., 2012. "Experimental methods: Between-subject and within-subject design," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 1-8.
    22. L. Lessassy & A. Jolibert, 2010. "L'influence de la marque, de la juxtaposition et de la coordination sur l'évaluation et l'intention d'achat : une approche expérimentale en magasin," Post-Print halshs-00534776, HAL.
    23. A. Ye(scedilla)im Orhun, 2009. "Optimal Product Line Design When Consumers Exhibit Choice Set-Dependent Preferences," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(5), pages 868-886, 09-10.
    24. France Leclerc & Christopher K. Hsee & Joseph C. Nunes, 2005. "Narrow Focusing: Why the Relative Position of a Good in Its Category Matters More Than It Should," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 24(2), pages 194-205, August.

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