Path Dependent Preferences: The Role of Initial Experience and Biased Search in Preference Discovery
Posted: 4 Aug 2011
Date Written: November 1, 2006
What is the role of early experiences in shaping preferences? What are the mechanisms by which such early encounters influence the way preferences are formed? In this research, we examine the impact of the entry position and favorability of initial (and ongoing) experiences on preference development. We predict that the starting point will heavily influence which particular region people select from initially, and favorableness of early experiences and myopic search will both limit their search to that particular region. Across four studies, we find that when the initial experiences are favorable, subjects engage in lower levels of search, experience only a narrow breadth of possible alternatives, demonstrate less ongoing experimentation, and have a reduction in the amount of preference development.
Keywords: Preference learning, Anchoring
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