Inducing Alternative-Based and Characteristic-Based Search Procedures in Risky Choice

Luigi Mittone, Mauro Papi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

We propose a novel experimental design aimed at investigating whether inducing individuals to use certain choice procedures has an effect on the outcome of their decision. Specifically, by implementing a modification of the mouse-tracing method, we induce subjects to use either alternative-based or characteristic-based search procedures in a between-subject lottery-choice experiment. We find that encouraging subjects to search by characteristic systematically makes them choose riskier options. Consistently with existing literature, our evidence indicates that individuals typically look up information within alternatives. However, when induced to search by characteristic, high prizes receive more attention, leading individuals to switch to noncompensatory heuristics and – consequently – make riskier choices. Our findings are robust to variations in the complexity of the choice problem and individual differences in risk-attitudes, CRT scores, and gender.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-380
Number of pages10
JournalJudgment and Decision Making
Volume15
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2020

Keywords

  • Alternative-Based Search
  • Characteristic-Based Search
  • Risky Choice

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