Pick your poison: Attribute trade‐offs in unattractive consideration sets

Tatiana Sokolova, Aradhna Krishna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Consumers often have to make trade‐offs between desirable, “more is better”, and undesirable, “less is better”, attributes. What drives whether the desirable or the undesirable attributes will be weighed more heavily in decisions? We show that the extent to which consumers focus on desirable versus undesirable attributes depends on the overall attractiveness of their consideration sets. The less attractive the options under consideration are – the higher is the weight allocated to undesirable attributes, such as price. Three experiments set in the contexts of lottery ticket purchasing (study 1), hotel booking (study 2), elections (study 3), and a conjoint study of online course evaluations (study 4) (N = 2,149, p‐curve power estimate 90%), demonstrate that unattractive sets increase the relative weight of “undesirable” attributes (e.g. price of a product, workload of a course); and lead to increased preference for options superior on these attributes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-328
JournalJournal of Consumer Psychology
Issue number2
Early online dateOct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Attribute weighting
  • Behavioral decision theory
  • Decision making
  • Judgment
  • Preference and choice
  • Pricing


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