Translated attributes as choice architecture: Aligning objectives and choices through decision signposts

Ungemach, C, Camilleri, A, Johnson, E, Larrick, R and Weber, E 2018, 'Translated attributes as choice architecture: Aligning objectives and choices through decision signposts', Management Science, vol. 64, no. 5, pp. 2445-2459.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Translated attributes as choice architecture: Aligning objectives and choices through decision signposts
Author(s) Ungemach, C
Camilleri, A
Johnson, E
Larrick, R
Weber, E
Year 2018
Journal name Management Science
Volume number 64
Issue number 5
Start page 2445
End page 2459
Total pages 15
Publisher Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (I N F O R M S)
Abstract Every attribute can be expressed in multiple ways. For example, car fuel economy can be expressed as fuel efficiency ("miles per gallon"), fuel cost in dollars, or tons of greenhouse gases emitted. Each expression, or "translation," highlights a different aspect of the same attribute. We describe a new mechanism whereby translated attributes can serve as decision "signposts" because they (1) activate otherwise dormant objectives, such as proenvironmental values and goals, and (2) direct the person toward the option that best achieves the activated objective. Across three experiments, we provide evidence for the occurrence of such signpost effects as well as the underlying psychological mechanism. We demonstrate that expressing an attribute such as fuel economy in terms of multiple translations can increase preference for the option that is better aligned with objectives congruent with this attribute (e.g., the more fuel-efficient car for those with proenvironmental attitudes), even when the new information is derivable from other known attributes. We discuss how using translated attributes appropriately can help align a person's choices with their personal objectives.
Subject Marketing Communications
Decision Making
Keyword(s) marketing
consumer behavior
choice architecture
translated attributes
DOI - identifier 10.1287/mnsc.2016.2703
Copyright notice Copyright © 2017 INFORMS
ISSN 0025-1909
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