News and events Tilburg University

Paper Rik Pieters accepted for publication in the Journal of Marketing Research

Published: 09th November 2022 Last updated: 09th November 2022

The paper “Attention Trajectories Capture Utility Accumulation and Predict Brand Choice” co-authored by Ana Martinovici (RSM Erasmus University), Rik Pieters, and Tülin Erdem (NYU) has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Marketing Research.

The paper is based on the Ph.D. dissertation by Ana Martinovici, completed at Tilburg University under the supervision of Rik Pieters.


Trajectories of attention capture the accumulation of brand utility during complex decision-making tasks. Thus, attention trajectories, as reflected in eye movements, predict the final brand choice of 85% of consumers before they implement it. Even when observing eye movements in only the first quarter of the decision process, attention already predicts brand choice much better (45%) than chance levels (20%). This superior prediction performance is due to a “double attention lift” for the chosen brand. Thus, the chosen brand receives progressively more attention towards the moment of choice, and more of this attention is devoted to integrating information about the brand rather than to comparing it with other options. In contrast, the currently owned brand grabs attention early in the task, and its attention gain persists for brand-loyal and shifts for brand-switching consumers. A new attention-and-choice model used in tandem with the Bayesian K-fold Cross-Validation methodology on eye-tracking data from 325 representative consumers uncovered these attention trajectory effects. The findings contribute to closing important knowledge gaps in the attention and choice literature and have implications for marketing research and managerial practice.