FV-94 | Visual and Numeric Attraction Effects with Large Choice Sets

Prof. Dr. Miguel Brendl & Dr. Ozgun Atasoy



Research Topic
We plan to continue our research program on the attraction effect, which describes a decisionmaking
phenomenon: Offering an inferior and rarely chosen third option to customers who decide
between two options has a paradoxical effect: It increases the choice share of the option most
similar to it. This effect is considered one of the most important findings in academic marketing,
but is still poorly understood. It is of theoretical interest because it violates reasonable assumptions
about how people should make choices. It also is of practical interest because it offers the potential
to alter customers’ choices by introducing extra alternatives to a product portfolio.

Consistent with our prediction, we observed the following data pattern: 
When respondents were given an unlimited time to inspect choice options, an
attraction effect occurred with numeric as well as visual modes, replicating
our previous findings. When respondents could inspect the choice options only
briefly (specifically, for only two seconds), an attraction effect occurred with the
visual mode but not with the numeric mode, indicating stronger resilience of
the attraction effect to time pressure in visual than in numeric mode. Extreme
time pressure (i.e., one second) eliminated the attraction effect in both visual
and numeric modes. Therefore, regardless of the mode, decision makers need
some processing time to process information for the effect to occur; however,
our data suggest that visual attraction effects require a shorter processing time
than numeric attraction effects.

Brendl, C. Miguel, Ozgun Atasoy, and Coralie Samson (2022, online-first date),
“Preferential attraction effects with visual stimuli: The role of quantitative
versus qualitative visual attributes,” Psychological Science, 00, 1-14. https://doi.

Presentations and Conferences
• Association for Consumer Research, Denver, CO, USA, October 2022†
• Delegation of the Verein zur Förderung des WWZ, Basel, Switzerland,
September 2022†
• Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Convention (Poster),
San Francisco, CA, USA, February 2022‡
• Swiss Academy of Marketing Science (SAMS) Conference, Lucerne,
Switzerland, October 2022†
• University of Freiburg, Germany, Invited Presentation at the Social
Psychology and Methodology Chair, November 2022*
Presenter: * Miguel Brendl, † Özgün Atasoy, ‡ Coralie Samson