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How Product Decision Characteristics Interact to Influence Cognitive Load: An Exploratory Study

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The objective of this laboratory experiment was to explore how product decision characteristics interact to influence the decision maker’s cognitive load. A between-subject experiment with 23 participants was performed to test how four decision characteristics (Decision set size, Attribute value format, Display format, and Information sorting) interact to influence participants’ cognitive load. Eye-tracking was used to assess cognitive load. Results indicate that the four product decision characteristics interact to influence cognitive load. We found, for example, that as the decision set size increased, the influence of attribute value format, display format, and information sorting on cognitive load varied. Theoretical contributions and managerial implications are discussed.

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How Product Decision Characteristics Interact to Influence Cognitive Load: An Exploratory Study

  1. 1. How Product Decision Characteristics Interact to Influence Cognitive Load: An Exploratory Study Sylvain Sénécal, Pierre-Majorique Léger, René Riedl, and Fred D. Davis June 13th 2017, Gmunden, Austria Gmunden Retreat on NeuroIS 2017
  2. 2. © Copyright Tech3Lab 2017 Research objective: Explore how product decision characteristics interact to influence the decision maker’s cognitive load
  3. 3. © Copyright Léger (2017) Four decision characteristics ▪▪ Decision set size ▪▪ Attribute value format ▪▪ Display format ▪▪ Information sorting
  4. 4. © Copyright Léger (2017) Cognitive Load Theory (CLT)
  5. 5. © Copyright Léger (2017) Methodology ▪▪ 3x2x2x2 Between-subject experiment ▪▪ 23 participants ▪▪ 72 product choices (3 sets of 24 choices) ▪▪ 20 seconds to perform each choice ▪▪ Total : 1656 product choices were collected
  6. 6. © Copyright Tech3Lab 2017 Experimental design ▪▪ Decision set : 3, 5, or 7 alternatives and 3, 5, or 7 attributes per alternative (i.e., 3x3, 5x5, or 7x7 decision set) ▪▪ Attribute value format : value format vs attribute values ▪▪ Display format : matrix format vs text format ▪▪ Information sorting : sorted fashion vs unsorted manner Product A Product B Product C Price $169 Reputation 2.5 stars Warranty 5 years Reputation 3 stars Warranty 4 years Price $139 Warranty 5 years Price $139 Reputation 3 stars
  7. 7. © Copyright Tech3Lab 2017 Instruments SMI (Teltow, Germany)
  8. 8. © Copyright Tech3Lab 2017 Results Results suggest that decision characteristics influence decision makers’ actual cognitive load Effect Num DF Den DF F Value P Value Decision set size (3, 5, 7) 2 1594 87.83 <.0001 Attribute value format (unit of measure) 1 1594 517.65 <.0001 Decision set size*Attribute value format 2 1594 23.37 <.0001 Display format (matrix or text) 1 1594 0.05 0.8304 Decision set size*Display format 2 1594 6.14 0.0022 Attribute value format*Display format 1 1594 1.16 0.2810 Information sorting 1 1594 11.69 0.0006 Decision set size*Information sorting 2 1594 4.28 0.0141 Attribute value format*Information sorting 1 1594 25.64 <.0001 Display format*Information sorting 1 1594 0.35 0.5515 Decision quality 1 1594 4.12 0.0426 Decision time 1 1594 1.13 0.2889
  9. 9. © Copyright Tech3Lab 2017 Results In the matrix condition, cognitive load only showed an increase when the decision set was the largest PupilLS-Mean LS-Mean for Size *Display Size 3.24 3.26 3.28 3.30 3.32 3.34 3 5 7 Display Matrix Test
  10. 10. © Copyright Léger (2017) Conclusion ▪▪ Interactions among decision characteristics and their influence on cognitive load. ▪▪ Implications for practice, especially for online decision- making tools

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