Prominence versus Dominance: How relationships between alternatives drive decision strategy and choice

Ioannis Evangelidis, J Levav

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we argue that the structure of a choice set can influence the extent to which consumers weight a given attribute. The results of seven experiments suggest that the relationship between alternatives under consideration can influence preference ordering by shifting the decision strategy that the individual adopts when constructing his or her preference. In decisions where individuals afford greater importance to one attribute versus another, preference for an alternative scoring high on this prominent attribute may decrease when decoy alternatives that are clearly better or worse than the focal options are inserted in the choice set. We claim that this effect arises because decision-makers initially (and spontaneously) use dominance cues rather than prominence when evaluating options, and they persist in using this same strategy even where it does not enable them to differentiate the alternatives under consideration. We moderate our effect by prompting respondents to consider prominence and by manipulating the order in which they evaluate different alternatives in the choice set. Our work has theoretical implications for research on context effects, contingent decision behavior, and choice architecture, as well as practical implications for product-line management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)753-766
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2013


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