ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2014, Vol. 46 ›› Issue (11): 1639-1648.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.01639

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The Influence of Information Processing Mode and Information Presentation Pattern on Attraction Effect in Area Comparison Judgments

ZHANG Quancheng; LIU Yang   

  1. (School of Business, Sichuan Normal University, Chengdu 610101, China)
  • Received:2013-08-12 Published:2014-11-25 Online:2014-11-25
  • Contact: ZHANG Quancheng, E-mail:


Attraction effect refers to the phenomenon that the addition of an asymmetrically dominated alternative to a choice set can increase the share of one of the original alternatives. As a form of context effect, it has received considerable empirical scrutiny in the marketing, consumer behavior, employee recruitment and other decision-making literature in recent years. Based on experiments, this paper verifies that the attraction effect still exists in area comparison judgments, and that it is multiply determined by both intuitive processing and analytic processing. Experiment 1 used the aptitude test technique to trigger the information processing pattern (intuitive processing and analytic processing) and explored the effect of information processing on the attraction effect. 252 undergraduate students have participated in experiment 1 and were randomly assigned to the experimental manipulation. Through adjusting the sort order of the figures, experiment 2 explored the effect of the stimulus presentation pattern on the attraction effect. 196 undergraduate students have participated in experiment 2 and were manipulated to three different conditions (core set, context set 1 and context set 2). The results of Experiment 1 reveal that the attraction effect can occur in an area comparison judgment task. The results also demonstrate that the information processing mode affects the attraction effect significantly, and analytic processing leads to a higher attraction effect than intuitive processing does. However, no attraction effect is found under intuitive processing in experiment 1. The results of Experiment 2 show that the attraction effect still exists when participants judge under intuitive processing, but its performance is affected by figures’ sort order. Compared to placing the target alternative between the decoys alternative and the competition alternative, putting the decoys alternative in the middle as the judgment background will enhance the attraction effect. The findings of this study offer an explanation for the attraction effect that can be interpreted in terms of general notions of information processing. Specifically, these findings implicate two factors in the attraction effect: information processing and information presentation. We propose a dual information processing theory to classify the mechanisms of the attraction effect and suggest that the attraction effect is rooted in both intuitive processing and analytic processing. The study also verifies that stimulus presentation pattern can affect participants’ information processing, which then will influence the attraction effect.

Key words: normal hypothesis, attraction effect, asymmetrically dominated alternative, loss aversion, range- frequency effect