The Impact of Presentation Order on the Attraction Effect in Decision-making


The attraction effect in decision-making is a famous example of how preferences are influenced by the availability of other options. One emerging hypothesis for the effect is that biases in attention influence preferences. In the past, these ideas have been explored indirectly through computational modeling and eye tracking. In the present paper, we directly manipulate attention through presentation order, presenting choice options sequentially. Our results show that presentation order has a large impact on the effect – some presentation orders enhance the effect and other orders reverse the effect. To understand these results, we fit a dynamic model, called the Multiattribute Linear Ballistic Accumulator model, to the choice and response time data. Modeling results reveal that presentation order influences the allocation of attention on the positive and negative differences between options. In sum, our results show that attention has a direct impact on the attraction effect.

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