News and events Tilburg University

Paper by Tatiana Sokolova accepted in the Journal of Consumer Psychology

Published: 29th October 2020 Last updated: 29th October 2020

Tatiana’s paper on “Pick your poison: Attribute trade‐offs in unattractive consideration sets” by Tatiana Sokolova (together with Aradhna Krishna from the University of Michigan) has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

This research shows that when people choose from relatively unattractive options (e.g. options with high prices and low quality), they place more weight on undesirable, "less is better" attributes, such as price, in their decisions.

Abstract

Consumers often have to make trade‐offs between desirable, “more is better”, and undesirable, “less is better”, attributes. What drives whether the desirable or the undesirable attributes will be weighed more heavily in decisions? We show that the extent to which consumers focus on desirable versus undesirable attributes depends on the overall attractiveness of their consideration sets. The less attractive the options under consideration are – the higher is the weight allocated to undesirable attributes, such as price. Three experiments set in the contexts of lottery ticket purchasing (study 1), hotel booking (study 2), elections (study 3), and a conjoint study of online course evaluations (study 4) (N = 2,149, p‐curve power estimate 90%), demonstrate that unattractive sets increase the relative weight of “undesirable” attributes (e.g. price of a product, workload of a course); and lead to increased preference for options superior on these attributes.