An Exploratory Study of Choice Rules Favored for High-Stakes Decisions
As information technology becomes more sophisticated, consumers will be able to access more information to help them make difficult high-stakes choices, such as medical and financial investments or career decision making. The purpose of this article is to examine how consumers think such information should be used in making decisions for which there are high stakes. Results, based on five exploratory studies, indicate that subjects do not spontaneously favor the use of compensatory decision procedures, such as multiattribute utility theory (MAUT). Explanation and structured pedagogical procedures significantly increase the subjects' endorsement of decision rules over no decision rules, but they do not increase the endorsement of MAUT. Further, subjects believe that they would be more likely to use compensatory models when they have more options and more information about the options, more time, less certainty about their goals, and more accountability. Paradoxically, although subjects generally do not want to use compensatory rules themselves, they are more likely to want their agents (e.g., physicians or financial or career advisors) to use these rules in making decisions.
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