Achieving the Compromise Effect With Missing Attribute Information: Introducing Shadow Options

Kunter Gunasti, Pennsylvania State University
William T. Ross, Jr., Pennsylvania State University
Addition of a third option (Z) to a binary choice set (XY) leads to a compromise effect increasing choice of Y in XYZ. In three studies it is shown that the same effect can be achieved when Z has a missing attribute (only one available attribute). Due to its missing attribute, Z may actually be better or worse than X and Y. While this shadow option is rarely chosen, its presence in the choice set changes the preferences between X and Y. This effect is achieved regardless of missing attribute type or attribute polarization and prompting participants to make inferences about the missing attributes further increases the effect.
[ to cite ]:
Kunter Gunasti and William T. Ross, Jr. (2008) ,"Achieving the Compromise Effect With Missing Attribute Information: Introducing Shadow Options", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 748-749.