Information search in experience-based choice and valuation : challenges and applications

Wulff, Dirk U.. Information search in experience-based choice and valuation : challenges and applications. 2015, Doctoral Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Psychology.


Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/diss/DissB_11129

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How people learn about options may play a more important role than their preferences in
determining their choice. This is the bottom line of a 10-year-old research program on the gap
between experience- and description-based choice. In this dissertation, I continue this line of
research by studying the underlying mechanisms and applying existing knowledge to decision
environments in the real world. Paper 1 evaluates the role of recency in the description‒
experience gap and concludes that it can be traced back to active search strategies, rather than
to memory limitations. Paper 2 expands the investigation of recency, showing that its very
cause—self-terminated search—poses severe methodological challenges to the study of
recency and experience in general. Paper 3 presents evidence for an intricate connection
between the length of active information search and preferences, which not only substantiates
the claims of the first two papers, but also introduces yet another challenge for the study of
experience-based choice. Namely, when a person’s preference determines her information
search, the length and outcome of her search may be more indicative of her preference than
the choice itself. Taking a much broader perspective, in papers 4 and 5 I apply the knowledge
obtained on the description‒experience gap to realistic choice environments. Representing a
proof of concept, Paper 4 establishes a connection between the description‒experience gap
and online consumer choices based on different formats of consumer reviews. Paper 5
extends this work by discussing the potential merits of experience-based information formats
for private and corporate risky choices and highlights the need to better understand the often
intricate relationships between experience and description in real-life choice situations.
Advisors:Hertwig, Ralph
Committee Members:Rieskamp, Jörg
Faculties and Departments:07 Faculty of Psychology > Departement Psychologie > Ehemalige Einheiten Psychologie > Cognitive and Decision Sciences (Hertwig)
UniBasel Contributors:Hertwig, Ralph and Rieskamp, Jörg
Item Type:Thesis
Thesis Subtype:Doctoral Thesis
Thesis no:11129
Thesis status:Complete
Number of Pages:1 Bd.
Identification Number:
edoc DOI:
Last Modified:22 Apr 2018 04:31
Deposited On:27 Feb 2015 12:33

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