ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (10): 1688-1696.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2020.01688

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The cognitive mechanisms of decoy effect in decision making

LI Jiahui, LIU Qing, JIANG Duo()   

  1. College of Psychology, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China
  • Received:2019-11-01 Online:2020-10-15 Published:2020-08-24
  • Contact: JIANG Duo


Decoy effect refers to a phenomenon that individuals tend to shift their preferences between two options when a third option is added to the choice set. The similar decoy, compromise decoy, attraction decoy and phantom decoy were applied to achieve the goal of selecting the option of target. Cognitive mechanisms of the decoy effect have been explored by many previous studies, some of which were conducted based on the perspective of heuristic or analytical processing, others were carried out from the perspective of the comparison process with either the attribute-based rule or the alternative-based rule. The cognitive processing of the decoy effect was affected by varied factors, such as age, the emotion of regret, the form of decision-making, the time pressure, and so on. In the future, related researches may focus on four aspects: (1) constructing a general cognitive processing model of all kinds of decoy effect; (2) exploring the role of perception in the cognitive mechanism of the decoy effect; (3) investigating the influence of decision-making styles on the decoy effect; and (4) exploring the ways to apply the decoy effect to nudge positive social development.

Key words: decoy effect, setting strategies, cognitive mechanism

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