The repulsion effect in preferential choice and its relation to perceptual choice

Mikhail S. Spektor, David Kellen, Karl Christoph Klauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


People rely on the choice context to guide their decisions, violating fundamental principles of rational choice theory and exhibiting phenomena called context effects. Recent research has uncovered that dominance relationships can both increase or decrease the choice share of the dominating option, marking the two ends of an attraction–repulsion continuum. However, empirical links between the two opposing effects are scarce and theoretical accounts are missing altogether. The present study (N = 55) used eye tracking alongside a within-subject design that contrasts a perceptual task and a preferential-choice analog in order to bridge this gap and uncover the underlying information-search processes. Although individuals differed in their perceptual and preferential choices, they generally engaged in alternative-wise comparisons and a repulsion effect was present in both conditions that became weaker the more predominant the attribute-wise comparisons were. Altogether, our study corroborates the notion that repulsion effects are a robust and general phenomenon that theoretical accounts need to take seriously.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105164
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Attraction effect
  • Decision making
  • Eye tracking
  • Repulsion effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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