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Abstract

Similarity plays a critical role in many judgments and choices. Traditional models of similarity posit that increasing the number of differences between objects cannot increase judged similarity between them. In contrast to these previous models, the present research shows that introducing a small difference in an attribute that previously was identical across objects can increase perceived similarity between those objects. We propose an explanation based on the idea that small differences draw more attention than identical attributes do and that people's perceptions of similarity involve averaging attributes that are salient. We provide evidence that introducing small differences between objects increases perceived similarity. We also show that an increase in similarity decreases the difficulty of choice and the likelihood that a choice will be deferred.
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... Given that the option of not choosing is an actual option in many real decision occasions (Dhar, 1997a), this behavior can be performed either to allow for the consideration of additional information sources or to evaluate more options that will eventually be offered (Dhar, 1997b). The occurrence of choice deferral has been related to the valence of the unique and shared attributes (Dhar & Sherman, 1996), time pressure Dhar & Sherman, 1996), the perceived similarity of the options and choice difficulty (Kim, Novemsky, & Dhar, 2013), preference uncertainty (Dhar, 1997a) and the options comparison mode Dhar & Sherman, Luis Eduardo Pilli and José Afonso Mazzon 1996). The present study on choice deferral follows an experimental design, which controls the information load effects of the number of options and the number of attributes. ...
... Beyond this general tendency, for the consumers without previous preferences formed, their perceived choice in large assortments was more difficult than those with the ideal point already available, with a reversed pattern observed in smaller assortments (Chernev, 2003). Furthermore, the choice became more difficult when the similarity was reduced during the judgment of attributes (Kim et al., 2013). ...
... Context effects drive choice deferral, which increases when options have unique bad attributes and share good ones, options' attractiveness is reduced, (Dhar, 1997a(Dhar, , 1997bDhar & Sherman, 1996), a dominant option is not present in the choice set (Dhar, 1997a;White & Hoffrage, 2009), or the perceived similarity increases (Kim et al., 2013). The mechanism behind such context effects is the preference uncertainty, resulting from an individual's reduced ability to distinguish the preferred option, since the inclusion of a new option increases the likelihood of the new option's utility to be comparable to the best option in the original choice set (Dhar, 1997a;White & Hoffrage, 2009). ...
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ABSTRACT Choice deferral due to information overload is an undesirable result of competitive environments. The neoclassical maximization models predict that choice avoidance will not increase as more information is offered to consumers. The theories developed in the consumer behavior field predict that some properties of the environment may lead to behavioral effects and an increase in choice avoidance due to information overload. Based on stimuli generated experimentally and tested among 1,000 consumers, this empirical research provides evidence for the presence of behavioral effects due to information overload and reveals the different effects of increasing the number of options or the number of attributes. This study also finds that the need for cognition moderates these behavioral effects, and it proposes psychological processes that may trigger the effects observed.
... For example, a researcher might ask, "Would you prefer two apples or one orange?" Forced choice tasks are often used in psychological experiments on entity similarity (e.g., [14]) as well as in other domains of psychological research such as preferences and decision making (e.g., [24,30]). Because forced choice decisions are relative, there is no issue with absolute preferences, and there is no ambiguity with respect to interpreting the meaning of the scale options. ...
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... For example, a researcher might ask, "Would you prefer two apples or one orange?" Forced choice tasks are often used in psychological experiments on entity similarity (e.g., (14)) as well as in other domains of psychological research such as preferences and decision making (e.g., (15,16)). Because forced choice decisions are relative, there is no issue with absolute preferences and there is no ambiguity with respect to interpreting the meaning of the scale options. ...
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Recommender systems (RS) often leverage information about the similarity between items' features to make recommendations. Yet, many commonly used similarity functions make mathematical assumptions such as symmetry (i.e., Sim(a, b) = Sim(b, a)) that are inconsistent with how humans make similarity judgments. Moreover, most algorithm validations either do not directly measure users' behavior or fail to comply with methodological standards for psychological research. RS that are developed and evaluated without regard to users' psychology may fail to meet users' needs. To provide recommendations that do meet the needs of users, we must: 1) develop similarity functions that account for known properties of human cognition, and 2) rigorously evaluate the performance of these functions using methodologically sound user testing. Here, we develop a framework for evaluating users' judgments of similarity that is informed by best practices in psychological research methods. Employing users' fashion item similarity judgments collected using our framework, we demonstrate that a psychologically-informed similarity function (i.e., Tver-sky contrast model) outperforms a psychologically-naive similarity function (i.e., Jaccard similarity) in predicting users' similarity judgments.
... Another interesting issue relates to the decision psychology of interpreting prices. For example, physicians may be more likely to order a test if its price is adjacent to another test that is more expensive, 3 and we are all familiar with the purchase-inducing effects of ending prices with the number 9, compared to other numbers. 4 We should recognize that the study by Silvestri et al. serves as a bridge to areas of investigation at the heart of physician decision-making and the patient-doctor relationship. ...
... Similarity and difference judgments have been shown to play a role in a broad range of cognitive phenomena, such as perceptual classification, learning and memory, problem solving and reasoning (Heit and Rotello, 2010;Kim et al., 2013;Kintsch, 2014;Sloutsky and Fisher, 2004). Thus, it is important to determine how different factors affect the perception of similarities and differences. ...
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