Manipulated decoy desirability modulates phantom decoy effect
Luis Alvarez, Daniel Acosta-Kane, Angela Yu, University of California, San Diego, United States
Posters 1 Poster
Pacific Ballroom H-O
Thu, 25 Aug, 19:30 - 21:30 Pacific Time (UTC -8)
Human decisions are influenced by supposed irrelevant information. For example, decoy effects show that preferences between two options of proportional value shift when a third option is included. Previous work has focused on classic decoy effects (similarity, attraction, and compromise), producing descriptive and normative accounts of decoy effects. Many standard accounts often ignore or fail to explain phantom decoy effects. These are complex effects involving a decoy that asymmetrically dominates one option; when unavailable, the phantom increases the preference for the dominated option, but when available, it reduces it. Considering phantom decoys are frequently encountered in everyday decision-making, a complete model of decoy effects must be able to explain why these effects occur. To broaden our understanding of decoy effects, we investigated a) whether the coupling between trinary choices and b) the desirability of a phantom option influences decoy choices. A group of undergraduate students completed an experiment where they had to select their preferred option from trinary choice sets while we manipulated the desirability of phantom alternatives and coupling of options. Our results demonstrate the desirability of a phantom alternative is a major factor driving phantom decoy effects.