Downsizing and Supersizing: How Changes in Product Attributes Influence Consumer Preferences, Journal of Behavioral Decision Making
This paper investigates how changing the value of one attribute while keeping other attributes constant influences consumers’ judgments and behaviors. We find that in two options, a proportionally equal change in one attribute tilts people’s preference towards the option with higher (or lower) absolute magnitude of change when the change is desirable (or undesirable). We propose that when individuals face an attribute change, they use a deliberative and effortful response, known as System 2, to detect the change. However, they rely less on this system to evaluate the changed options. Instead, a more automatic System 1 processing influences their decision by making them apply the bigger-is-better heuristic (bigger-is-worse for an undesirable change) to prefer the option with the highest (lowest) absolute magnitude of change. Six studies demonstrate this phenomenon both in lab and real settings and support our hypothesis.
Ata Jami, Himanshu Mishra
Jami, Ata, and Himanshu Mishra. 2014. Downsizing and Supersizing: How Changes in Product Attributes Influence Consumer Preferences. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making. 27(4): 301-15.