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The Influence of Task Complexity on Consumer Choice: A Latent Class Model of Decision Strategy Switching


  • Swait, Joffre
  • Adamowicz, Wiktor


The literature indicating that person-, context-, and task-specific factors cause consumers to utilize different decision strategies has generally failed to affect the specification of choice models used by practitioners and academics alike, who still tend to assume an utility maximizing, omniscient, indefatigable consumer. This article (1) introduces decision strategy selection, within a maintained compensatory framework, into aggregate choice models via latent classes, which arise because of task complexity; (2) it demonstrates that within an experimental choice task, the model reflects changing aggregate preferences as choice complexity changes and as the task progresses. The import of these findings for current practice, model interpretation, and future research needs is examined. Copyright 2001 by the University of Chicago.

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  • Swait, Joffre & Adamowicz, Wiktor, 2001. " The Influence of Task Complexity on Consumer Choice: A Latent Class Model of Decision Strategy Switching," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(1), pages 135-148, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jconrs:v:28:y:2001:i:1:p:135-48

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