On the influence of context-based complexity on information search patterns: An individual perspective

Jella Pfeiffer, Martin Meißner, Eduard Brandstätter, René Riedl, Reinhold Decker, Franz Rothlauf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although context-based complexity measured as the similarity and conflict across alternatives is dependent on individual preference structures, existing studies investigating the influence of context-based complexity on information search patterns have largely ignored that context-based complexity is user- and preference-dependent. Addressing this research gap, this article elicits the individual preferences of decision makers by using the pairwise-comparison-based preference measurement (PCPM) technique and records individuals' search patterns using eye tracking. Our results show that an increased context-based complexity leads to an increase in information acquisition and the use of a more attribute-wise search pattern. Moreover, the information search pattern changes within a choice task as information is processed attribute-wise in earlier stages of the search process and alternative-wise in later ones. The fact that we do not find an interaction effect of context-based complexity and decision stages on the search patterns indicates that the influence of complexity on search patterns stays constant throughout the decision process and suggests that the more complex the choice task is, the later the switch from attribute-wise strategies to alternative-wise strategies will be.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-124
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014

Keywords

  • Context-based complexity
  • Decision behavior
  • Decision strategies
  • Eyetracking
  • Preference measurement

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