IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

The Attribute Carryover Effect: What the "Runner-Up" Option Tells Us about Consumer Choice Processes

  • Wendy Attaya Boland
  • Merrie Brucks
  • Jesper H. Nielsen
Registered author(s):

    The process used to differentiate a top choice from a runner-up can result in a preference reversal among nonselected alternatives, which we term the attribute carryover effect. A series of three experiments demonstrate that a phased choice process can shift attribute preferences. If the top choice is unavailable, consumers with weak attribute preferences are likely to reject their explicitly identified second choice (the runner-up option). Instead, these consumers choose an option that may not meet the initial screening criteria but that does share a desirable, "differentiating" feature with the unavailable top choice. Judgment data indicate that this preference reversal is due to increased salience of the differentiating attribute during the last phase of the original choice, which "carries over" into the subsequent choice. These findings augment our understanding of consumer choice processes and heighten our ability to predict choice outcomes under situations in which a chosen option is unattainable.

    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:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Journal of Consumer Research.

    Volume (Year): 38 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 5 ()
    Pages: 872 - 885

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:ucp:jconrs:doi:10.1086/660749
    Contact details of provider:

    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:ucp:jconrs:doi:10.1086/660749. 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: (Oxford University Press)

    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.