The default pull: An experimental demonstration of subtle default effects on preferences

Dhingra, Nikhil; Gorn, Zach; Kener, Andrew; Dana, Jason
January 2012
Judgment & Decision Making;Jan2012, Vol. 7 Issue 1, p69
Academic Journal
The impact of default options on choice is a reliable, well-established behavioral finding. However, several different effects may lend to choosing defaults in an often indistinguishable manner, including loss aversion, inattention, information leakage, and transaction costs associated with switching. We introduce the notion of the "default pull" as the effect that even subtle default options have on decision makers' uncertainty about their own preferences. The default pull shapes what a decision maker prefers by causing her to consider whether she prefers the default. We demonstrate default pull effects using a simple decision making task that strips away many of the usual reasons that defaults could effect choices, and we show that defaults can have substantial effects on choice, even when the default itself was not chosen.


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