AMS Review

, Volume 5, Issue 1–2, pp 1–19 | Cite as

On the practical relevance of the attraction effect: A cautionary note and guidelines for context effect experiments

  • Marcel Lichters
  • Marko SarstedtEmail author
  • Bodo Vogt


While the attraction effect has received considerable attention in consumer research, recent research concludes that the effect is restricted to artificial choice settings, which questions its relevance for marketing practice. This paper takes a broader perspective on the issue of the generalizability of research results and introduces a set of background factors, which, if neglected, have adverse consequences for such generalizability. The results of our extensive review of the literature on this topic, published during the last four decades in the top 30 marketing journals, show that context effect studies have routinely neglected these background factors. In light of our results, we propose guidelines for implementing context effect experiments in future consumer research. These guidelines allow for a more realistic analysis of the attraction effect and related context effects in consumer research.


Asymmetric dominance Attraction effect Compromise effect Phantom decoy effect Context effects External validity 


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© Academy of Marketing Science 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Empirical Economics, Faculty of Economics and ManagementOtto-von-Guericke-University MagdeburgMagdeburgGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Marketing, Faculty of Economics and ManagementOtto-von-Guericke-University MagdeburgMagdeburgGermany
  3. 3.Faculty of Business and LawUniversity of NewcastleNewcastleAustralia
  4. 4.Department of Empirical Economics, Faculty of Economics and Management and Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Faculty of MedicineOtto-von-Guericke-University MagdeburgMagdeburgGermany

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