Does Attention Confer Importance? Examining Evidence from the Multiattribute Choice Domain


There is a prevalent claim in the judgment and decision making (JDM) literature that attention to a piece of information confers weight or importance upon that information. The prevalence of that claim is not commensurate with the empirical evidence – the quantity of evidence is sparse, and, is constrained by significant limitations in the methodological approach of previous studies. The current work presents a novel method for covertly manipulating attention to different components of a decision scenario. Using this approach, the current work provides empirical evidence from three multiattribute scenarios in support of a consistent, positive causal relationship between the attention allocated to a piece of information and the influence accorded to it. In addition, the current work demonstrates the viability of crowdsourcing psychological research, including research that involves significant perceptual components.

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