Quasi-experimental study of decision-making under conditions of equal choice



The problem of decision-making in the situation of choice among equivalent alternatives is considered in the article. This problem is relevant for behavioral and cognitive Sciences, as well as for practice. At present, it does not have an unambiguous solution. For the first time the problem has been formulated in philosophy and described by the famous parable of Buridan’s donkey. In experimental psychology, the complexity of the problem was shown in the experiment of Nisbett R.T. and Wilson T.D., who offered the subjects to choice one from four identical goods in the supermarket. It has been shown that this choice is not accidental. Most buyers prefer a product that lies fourth on the storefront but do not realize it. The researchers concluded that in a situation of equal choice, the factor of place of goods on display is significant. The proposed article refers to a pilot study of the impact of different ways of presenting subjects with equivalent alternatives to choose from. Three groups of subjects were asked to make a choice in three different situations: to randomly select and cross out one cell in the rows of the figure in the form of a ladder and a pyramid (from 2 to 20). The third group was offered a situation of “distribution of 11 financial funds between 12 unfamiliar managers” sitting at a round table. The study showed that in the first two cases there is a tendency to choose alternatives that are at the center of the proposed figures. In the third case, there is a tendency to “allocate funds in the form of a clock face”. However, many subjects seem to apply some of their strategies of choice and are not aware of them. In practice, such choice is going to be irrational and often unpredictable.

General Information

Keywords: economic psychology, behavioral Economics, cognitive psychology, marketing, decision-making, uncertainty, choice, randomness and regularity

Journal rubric: Psychology of Thinking

Article type: scientific article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/exppsy.2018110407

Funding. This work was supported by The Russian scientific Fund, grant № 14-18-03271 “Macroeconomic analysis of social phenomena”.

For citation: Lebedev A.N. Quasi-experimental study of decision-making under conditions of equal choice. Eksperimental'naâ psihologiâ = Experimental Psychology (Russia), 2018. Vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 79–93. DOI: 10.17759/exppsy.2018110407. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Alexander N. Lebedev, Doctor of Psychology, leading researcher of the laboratory of personality, Institute of psychology RAS, Professor, Department of social psychology, Moscow Institute of psychoanalysis, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1030-9709, e-mail: lebedev-lubimov@yandex.ru



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