In incentive-aligned choice experiments, each decision is realized with some probability, Prob. In three eye-tracking experiments, we study the impact of varying Prob from 0 (as in purely hypothetical choices) to 1 (as in real-life choices) on attention, information processing, and choice. Consistent with the bounded rationality literature, we find that as Prob increases from 0 to 1, consumers process the choice-relevant information more carefully and more comprehensively. Consistent with the psychological distance literature, we find that as Prob increases from 0 to 1, consumers become less novelty seeking and more price sensitive. These findings underscore that even with incentive alignment, preference measurement choice experiments such as choice-based conjoint analyses only represent an approximation of real-life choices. Although it is not feasible to systematically use questions with high Prob in the field, we predict and find that placing a higher probability question (such as an external validity task) at the beginning rather than the end of a questionnaire has a carryover effect on attention and information processing throughout the questionnaire, and it influences preference estimates as well.
Yang, Cathy, Olivier Toubia, and Martijin De Jong. "Attention, Information Processing and Choice in Incentive-Aligned Choice Experiments." Journal of Marketing Research 55, no. 6 (2018): 783-800.
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