Going Smaller with Precise Numbers: Consequences of the Precision-Smallness Association on Attribute Weighting and Consumer Choice
When choosing from a product assortment, consumers often compare options on multiple product attributes (e.g., product weight, processor speed). These attributes may be displayed with more precise numbers (e.g., 12.34) or less precise numbers (e.g., 12). The present research shows that when attribute values are communicated with higher numerical precision, consumers weight smaller-is-better attributes (e.g., product weight)—for which smaller numbers denote greater utility—relatively more in their decision making. Furthermore, the authors provide evidence that this difference in attribute weighting occurs because of an association between precise numbers and the concept of smallness and document the effect of precision-smallness association on various product evaluations and consumer choices. Findings from six studies offer triangulating evidence for the proposed theorizing and contribute to several streams of research within judgment and decision making, including attribute weighting and numerical cognition.
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