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Title: The lure of choice : the impact of increased choice on decision making
Author: Bown, Nicola Jane
ISNI:       0000 0001 2413 5768
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2006
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Reported in this thesis are ten experiments involving a total of 2,426 participants, which investigated the lure of choice. The lure of choice is demonstrated when an item is more likely to be chosen when it is presented in a choice set with other items than when it is presented in isolation. The lure of choice violates principles of rational decision making and can lead to sub-optimal decisions. In the early exploratory studies, participants made sequential selections between two target goods and one inferior lure item in lottery games and in decisions embedded in realistic scenarios. The first decision was between either a solitary target or a further decision between the second target and the lure. Participants were lured by choice, and took the same target more frequently when it was paired with a lure than when it was alone. Later studies were designed to test the argument that the lure of choice is a demonstration of an existing, well-documented context effect. Explanations of the asymmetric dominance effect failed to account for the lure of choice. The final set of studies was developed to demonstrate the applicability of the lure of choice in a range of domains, including replicating other relevant empirical studies. Results indicate that the lure of choice is a moderate but robust effect. Discussion focuses on attempts to resolve inconsistencies in the literature that on the one hand demonstrate that people crave choice, but on the other suggest in some situations too much choice can be demotivating or even harmful to the recipient. Conclusions suggest that the lure of choice is due to the overgeneralization of a preference for choice heuristic that has been very reliable in the natural world, but is less so in a world created by marketers geared towards maximising consumption. Other real world implications of the lure of choice are discussed.
Supervisor: Read, Daniel ; Maule, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available