Together and Apart: What Makes Choice Alternatives Compete Versus Complement

Ying Zhang, University of Chicago
Ayelet Fishbach, University of Chicago
We examine whether the mental framing of choice alternatives pertaining to goals and temptation (e.g., healthy vs. fatty food) as competing or complementing influences their value and people’ choice. We find that when goal- and temptation-related alternatives are depicted together in a unified choice set (e.g., one image), they seem complementing and therefore people assign greater value to tempting options. Conversely, when these choice alternatives are presented apart from each other, in two choice-sets that are sorted by the underlying goals (e.g., two images), they seem to compete with each other and people assign greater value to goal options.
[ to cite ]:
Ying Zhang and Ayelet Fishbach (2008) ,"Together and Apart: What Makes Choice Alternatives Compete Versus Complement", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 169-172.