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Position Effects in Choice from Simultaneous Displays: A Conundrum Solved

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  • Maya Bar-Hillel

Abstract

From drop-down computer menus to department-store aisles, people in everyday life often choose from simultaneous displays of products or options. Studies of position effects in such choices show seemingly inconsistent results. For example, in restaurant choice, items enjoy an advantage when placed at the beginning or end of the menu listings, but in multiple-choice tests, answers are more popular when placed in the middle of the offered list. When reaching for a bottle on a supermarket shelf, bottles in the middle of the display are more popular. But on voting ballots, first is the most advantageous position. Some of the effects are quite sensible, while others are harder to justify and can aptly be regarded as biases. This paper attempts to put position effects into a unified and coherent framework, and to account for them simply, using a small number of familiar psychological principles.

Suggested Citation

  • Maya Bar-Hillel, 2015. "Position Effects in Choice from Simultaneous Displays: A Conundrum Solved," Discussion Paper Series dp678, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  • Handle: RePEc:huj:dispap:dp678
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    File URL: http://ratio.huji.ac.il/sites/default/files/publications/dp678JournalVer.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Eran Dayan & Maya Bar-Hillel, 2011. "Nudge to nobesity II: Menu positions influence food orders," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 6(4), pages 333-342, June.
    2. Maya Bar-Hillel & Ro`i Zultan, 2011. "We sing the praise of good displays: How gamblers bet in casino roulette," Discussion Paper Series dp585, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
    3. Maya Bar-Hillel & Eyal Peer & Alessandro Acquisti, 2014. ""Heads or Tails?" - A reachability bias in binary choice," Discussion Paper Series dp657, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
    4. Atalay , Selin & Onur Bodur , H. & Rasolofoarison , Dina, 2012. "Shining in the Center: Central Gaze Cascade Effect on Product Choice," HEC Research Papers Series 978, HEC Paris.
    5. James Sundali & Rachel Croson, 2006. "Biases in casino betting: The hot hand and the gambler's fallacy," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 1, pages 1-12, July.
    6. Paul Rozin & Sydney Scott & Megan Dingley & Joanna K. Urbanek & Hong Jiang & Mark Kaltenbach, 2011. "Nudge to nobesity I: Minor changes in accessibility decrease food intake," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 6(4), pages 323-332, June.
    7. Selin Atalay & H. Onur Bodur & Dina Rasolofoarison, 2012. "Shining in the Center: Central Gaze Cascade Effect on Product Choice," Post-Print hal-00758534, HAL.
    8. Eran Dayan & Maya Bar-Hillel, 2011. "Nudge to nobesity II: Menu positions influence food orders," Discussion Paper Series dp581, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
    9. A. Selin Atalay & H. Onur Bodur & Dina Rasolofoarison, 2012. "Shining in the Center: Central Gaze Cascade Effect on Product Choice," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(4), pages 848-866.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Dellaert, B.G.C. & Johnson, E.J. & Baker, T., 2019. "Choice Architecture for Healthier Insurance Choices: Ordering and Partitioning Can Improve Decisions," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2019-008-MKT, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    2. Maya Bar-Hillel, 2016. "Reply to Rodway, Schepman & Thoma (2016)," Discussion Paper Series dp699, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
    3. Irenaeus Wolff, 2017. "Lucky Numbers in Simple Games," TWI Research Paper Series 107, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
    4. E. Reijnen & S. J. Kühne & H. M. Gugelberg & A. Crameri, 2019. "Nudged to a Menu Position: The Role of “I’m Loving It”!," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 441-453, September.
    5. Tong V. Wang & Rogier J. D. Potter van Loon & Martijn J. van den Assem & Dennie van Dolder, 2016. "Number preferences in lotteries," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 11(3), pages 243-259, May.
    6. Steven Glazerman & Ira Nichols-Barrer & Jon Valant & Jesse Chandler & Alyson Burnett, "undated". "Nudging Parents to Choose Better Schools: The Importance of School Choice Architecture," Mathematica Policy Research Reports dd5063086be143fb75deb193b, Mathematica Policy Research.

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