Tracing of Choice Processes

Eric Johnson, Kellen Mrkva, Antonia Krefeld-Schwalb 

Decisions can be influenced through choice architecture, but just knowing how people make decisions does not tell us why they make those decisions.  We are also interested, however, in how people make those decisions.  We use two techniques, MouseLabWeb and eye tracking, to trace the cognitive processes that occur in an individual's mind when that individual is making a decision.  MouseLabWeb is a substitute for eye tracking that incentivizes participants to use their computer mice to explore options presented to them.  In MouseLabWeb studies, the movements of a participant's mouse can give similar information as eye tracking in studies where running participants in an eye tracking lab is not feasible. The movements of the mouse pointer in web studies using MouseLabWeb and the movements of the participant's eyes in eye tracking studies allow us to see how participants examine options.  We can see whether participants compare similar aspects of different options, or whether they integrate many aspects of a single option.  These analyses give us valuable insight into how targeted choice architecture interventions work when we apply them in other studies.