Title

Default nudges: The impact of decision context and default source on perceptions and behaviors related to default options

Document Type

Poster

Campus where you would like to present

Ellensburg

Event Website

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source

Start Date

18-5-2020

Abstract

Default options (e.g., preselected choices) powerfully impact decision-making outcomes ranging from shipping methods to organ donation, increasing retention of the options set as defaults. Decision-makers often assume that defaults reflect recommendations, however, the rationale behind default selections is often unexplained. We therefore explore the effectiveness of defaults, their perceived basis, and if such perceptions depend on the context of the decision. That is, might people believe defaults represent expert opinions for complex decisions, but most popular options for social decisions (default-context fit). In Study 1, participants selected how student fees should be allocated at a university. The decisioncontext was described as being either complex or social in nature. Participants were then randomly assigned to receive information about how the default options were selected: by an expert, by popularity, or no information. Participants then decided how the student fees should be used (e.g., renovation, transportation) with randomly selected default options included. They then reported how they thought defaults were determined. Replicating the classic default effect, participants chose the default option more than chance, with this effect most pronounced in the complex-context condition. Interestingly, rather than a default-context fit, we instead found that participants were more likely to believe the default represented the popular option (vs. expert opinion, random, profitable) regardless of context. Given these findings, in Study 2 we examined a more individualized, less socially-relevant decision: laptop customization. Results replicate Study 1 and additionally suggest that participants were more likely to choose the default when told it represented the popular option.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Tonya Buchanan

Department/Program

Psychology

Additional Mentoring Department

https://cwu.studentopportunitycenter.com/2020/04/default-nudges-the-impact-of-decision-context-and-default-source-on-perceptions-and-behaviors-related-to-default-options/

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May 18th, 12:00 PM

Default nudges: The impact of decision context and default source on perceptions and behaviors related to default options

Ellensburg

Default options (e.g., preselected choices) powerfully impact decision-making outcomes ranging from shipping methods to organ donation, increasing retention of the options set as defaults. Decision-makers often assume that defaults reflect recommendations, however, the rationale behind default selections is often unexplained. We therefore explore the effectiveness of defaults, their perceived basis, and if such perceptions depend on the context of the decision. That is, might people believe defaults represent expert opinions for complex decisions, but most popular options for social decisions (default-context fit). In Study 1, participants selected how student fees should be allocated at a university. The decisioncontext was described as being either complex or social in nature. Participants were then randomly assigned to receive information about how the default options were selected: by an expert, by popularity, or no information. Participants then decided how the student fees should be used (e.g., renovation, transportation) with randomly selected default options included. They then reported how they thought defaults were determined. Replicating the classic default effect, participants chose the default option more than chance, with this effect most pronounced in the complex-context condition. Interestingly, rather than a default-context fit, we instead found that participants were more likely to believe the default represented the popular option (vs. expert opinion, random, profitable) regardless of context. Given these findings, in Study 2 we examined a more individualized, less socially-relevant decision: laptop customization. Results replicate Study 1 and additionally suggest that participants were more likely to choose the default when told it represented the popular option.

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source/2020/COTS/110