Choosing one at a time? Presenting options simultaneously helps people make more optimal decisions than presenting options sequentially
Date of Issue2017
College of Business (Nanyang Business School)
This research examines an element of choice architecture that has received little attention—whether options are presented simultaneously or sequentially. Participants were more likely to choose dominating options when the options were presented simultaneously rather than sequentially, both when the dominance relationship was transparent (Experiment 1) and when it was not (Experiments 2–3). Depth of cognitive processing mediated the effect of option presentation on optimal choice (Experiment 4). Memory load was unlikely to be the underlying mechanism, as individual differences in working memory span did not predict optimal choice in the sequential condition (which places a greater memory load; Experiment 5), and manipulations of memory load did not reduce the benefits of simultaneous presentation (Experiments 6a–6c). Instead, participants’ working memory span predicted optimal choice in the simultaneous condition (which allows for more in-depth processing; Experiment 5), and a manipulation of processing load eliminated the benefits of simultaneous presentation (Experiment 7).
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
© 2017 Elsevier Inc. This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier Inc. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.obhdp.2017.01.004].