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Identifying decision strategies in a consumer choice situation

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  • Psychology


Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 3, No. 8, December 2008, pp. XX–XX Identifying decision strategies in a consumer choice situation Nils Reisen∗1,2, Ulrich Hoffrage1, and Fred W. Mast2 1 Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Lausanne 2 Institute of Psychology, University of Lausanne Abstract In two studies on mobile phone purchase decisions, we investigated consumers’ decision strategies with a newly developed process tracing tool called InterActive Process Tracing (IAPT). This tool is a combination of several process tracing techniques (Active Information Search, Mouselab, and retrospective verbal protocol). After repeatedly choosing one of four mobile phones, participants formalized their strategy so that it could be used to make choices for them. The choices made by the identified strategies correctly predicted the observed choices in 73% (Experiment 1) and 67% (Experiment 2) of the cases. Moreover, in Experiment 2 we directly compared Mouselab and eye tracking with respect to their impact on information search and strategy description. We found only minor differences between these two methods. We conclude that IAPT is a useful research tool to identify choice strategies, and that using eye tracking technology did not increase its validity beyond that gained with Mouselab. Keywords: decision strategies, process tracing, verbal protocols, decision making, eye tracking, Mouselab. 1 Introduction Identifying the processes that underlie judgment and de- cision making has been of great interest to researchers for several decades already. In this context, two major paradigms have been used: structural modeling and pro- cess tracing (Abelson & Levi, 1985; Billings & Marcus, 1983; Einhorn, Kleinmuntz, & Kleinmuntz, 1979; Ford, Schmitt, Schlechtman, Hults, & Doherty, 1989; Harte & Koele, 1995; Payne, 1976; Svenson, 1979). Structural modeling aims to uncover psychological processes by re- lating the provided information to the decisions or judg- ments, typically via multiple linea

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