Order effects in choice are selectively modulated by cognitive load


The order in which options are presented influences choice in ways that parallel primacy and recency effects in memory, but the depth of this connection remains underexplored. I present sequences of art to experimental participants who select their favorite pieces, and show that cognitive load can selectively weaken choice primacy or recency depending on its timing, analogous to established findings in memory research. Primacy is reduced by an externally-imposed distractor task in between each option, or by natural fatigue, while recency is reduced by an extra delay containing a distractor after the last option is presented. Thus, order effects in choice can be predictably modulated by the targeted disruption of processing.
Last updated on 06/21/2018