Order in Choice: Effects of Serial Position on Preferences


When several choice options are sampled one at a time in a sequence and a single choice of the best option is made at the end of the sequence, which location in the sequence is chosen most often? We report a large-scale experiment that assessed tasting preferences in choice sets of two, three, four, or five wines. We found a large primacy effect—the first wine had a large advantage in the end-of-sequence choice. We also found that participants who were knowledgeable about wines showed a recency effect in the longer sequences. We conclude with a process model that explains our findings.

Mantonakis, Antonia, Pauline Rodero, Isabelle Lesschaeve, and Reid Hastie. “Order in Choice: Effects of Serial Position on Preferences.” Psychological Science 20.11 (2009): 1309-1312. (Lead Article). Print.
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