Pulling-Up Or Pushing Down? Exploring Pro-Leader and Anti-Trailer Processing in Multi-Option Consumer Choices

Simon J. Blanchard, Pennsylvania State University, USA
Margaret G. Meloy, Pennsylvania State University, USA
Kurt A. Carlson, Duke University, USA
Tentative preferences that emerge during a binary choice cause consumers to bias their evaluations of new information to favor the currently preferred or leading option. This paper examines what happens to information evaluations when consumers make a choice between more than two options. Specifically, do decision makers evaluate new information to favor the leading option, or do they evaluate new information to disfavor the trailing (i.e., currently least preferred) option(s)? An initial experiment shows that individuals engage both in pro-leader and anti-trailer processing, and that these forms of biased processing increase as the number of options increases.
[ to cite ]:
Simon J. Blanchard, Margaret G. Meloy, and Kurt A. Carlson (2009) ,"Pulling-Up Or Pushing Down? Exploring Pro-Leader and Anti-Trailer Processing in Multi-Option Consumer Choices", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 957-957.