Attention Trajectories Capture Utility Accumulation and Predict Brand Choice



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: The chosen brand receives progressively more attention toward 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 consumers 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.
Date made available2023

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