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

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.


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.


Katrien Wijnen, Ghent University, Belgium
James R. Bettman, Duke University, USA
Joel Huber, Duke University, USA


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34 | 2007

Share Proceeding

Featured papers

See More


Felt Status, Social Contagion, and Consumer Word-of-Mouth in Preferential Treatment Contexts

Brent McFerran, Simon Fraser University, Canada
Jennifer Argo, University of Alberta, Canada

Read More


Brands as Complex Social Processes

Andrea Hemetsberger, University of Innsbruck, Austria
Hans Mühlbacher, International University of Monaco
Eric J Arnould, Aalto University, Finland

Read More


Effortful but Valuable: How Perceptions of Effort Affect Charitable Gift Choice and Valuations of Charity

Haesung Annie Jung, University of Texas at Austin, USA
Marlone Henderson, University of Texas at Austin, USA

Read More

Engage with Us

Becoming an Association for Consumer Research member is simple. Membership in ACR is relatively inexpensive, but brings significant benefits to its members.