Gone But Not Forgotten: the Role of Unacceptable Options in Decision Making

Katrien Wijnen, Ghent University, Belgium
James R. Bettman, Duke University, USA
Joel Huber, Duke University, USA
This research explores the impact of a truly unacceptable option on the consumer decision process. Study 1 shows that an unacceptable decoy option in the set biases the consumer’s final choice for both asymmetric dominance and compromise by affecting the perceived choice context. Study 2 demonstrates that making the decoy clearly unacceptable appears to trigger a correction process that moderately reduces choice contamination. Study 3 shows that despite asserting that they did not examine them, participants retain accurate information on alternatives containing unacceptable levels. The research highlights the robustness of context effects, even in the presence of truly unacceptable alternatives.
[ to cite ]:
Katrien Wijnen, James R. Bettman, and Joel Huber (2007) ,"Gone But Not Forgotten: the Role of Unacceptable Options in Decision Making", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34, eds. Gavan Fitzsimons and Vicki Morwitz, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 222-225.