Feast Or Famine: How Expectations Polarize Judgments of Ambiguous Alternative Set Sizes

S. Adam Brasel, Boston College
This research explores how expectations influence judgments of choice-set size. Two online experiments illustrate that limited or extensive set-size expectations have little effect on perceptions of actually limited or extensive sets, yet expectations significantly influence reactions to more ambiguous moderate sets. Participants expecting sparse sets view a moderate set as complete and overwhelming with low choice confidence, similar to their perceptions of extensive sets. Participants expecting an extensive set view the same moderate set as incomplete and restricted but have high confidence, similar to their limited set perceptions. When external cues resolve moderate set-size ambiguity, expectation effects are significantly attenuated.
[ to cite ]:
S. Adam Brasel (2008) ,"Feast Or Famine: How Expectations Polarize Judgments of Ambiguous Alternative Set Sizes", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 818-819.