, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 101-125

The effect of context variables on cognitive effort in multiattribute binary choice

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Abstract

This article reports an empirical investigation of the cognitive effort required to decide in multiattribute binary choice using a variation of the Additive Difference strategy. In contrast with other studies, this paper focuses on the effect of various context variables (rather than task variables) on cognitive effort. In order to select the context variables to be manipulated, we used the model proposed by Shugan (1980; J. Consumer Res. 75 (1980) 99). Our results indicate that there is a positive relationship between the cognitive effort required to decide and the mean of the differences between the dimensions of the choice alternatives. We have also found an inverse relationship between cognitive effort and the variance of the differences between the dimensions of the choice alternatives. Finally, we have found that in negative correlation contexts the effort needed to decide is greater than in positive and null correlation contexts.