Leonard Lee

Holistic versus Analytical Processing in Preference Transitivity

Coauthor(s): Lisa Son.

In a series of four experiments involving a pairwise product choice task, we examine factors that affect the transitivity of individuals' product preferences (as opposed to logical transitivity in inferential reasoning typically investigated in developmental and animal psychology.) The results indicated that participants made more transitive choices (1) when they thought about three individuals who would like each product as opposed to three features of each product; (2) when they considered why they would buy each product rather than how they would use each product; (3) when they chose products for distant-future instead of near-future consumption; and (4) after they had been primed to adopt a global (vs. local) mindset in an unrelated prior task (i.e., Navon task). Together, these results suggest that greater holistic (vs. analytical) processing engenders greater preference transitivity, consistent with prior findings which demonstrated that emotional processing leads to greater preference consistency than deliberative cognitive processing.

Source: Working Paper
Exact Citation:
Lee, Leonard, and Lisa Son. "Holistic versus Analytical Processing in Preference Transitivity." Working Paper, Columbia Business School, 2005.
Date: 2005