Does inducing choice procedures make individuals better off? An experimental study

Luigi Mittone, Mauro Papi

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Over the years the psychological and economic literature on multi attribute individual decision-making has focused its attention on examining what class of heuristics better describes subjects’ behaviour. In contrast, motivated by the proliferation of online choice platforms, we investigate whether inducing subjects to use holistic vs characteristic-based search (CBS) procedures has an effect on the quality of their decision by proposing a between subject experiment involving an innovative visual choice task. We find that encouraging subjects to use CBS heuristics as opposed to holistic ones makes them better off. We also examine how subjects’ performance is related with complexity, time pressure, and random choice by running simulations and link our results to the related literature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37–59
Number of pages23
JournalTheory and Decision
Early online date30 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


  • between-subject
  • characteristic-based search
  • heuristic
  • holistic
  • multi-attribute problem
  • simulations


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