The decoy effect, also known as the asymmetric dominance effect or the attraction effect, is a cognitive bias that occurs when people's preferences between two options are influenced by the introduction of a third, less attractive option. This effect is often observed in decision-making scenarios and marketing.
Here's how the decoy effect works
Initially, you have two options (Target A and Target B) that you need to choose between. These options may have different characteristics, such as price, size, features, or quality.
A third option, known as the "decoy," is introduced. The decoy is deliberately designed to be less attractive than one of the two target options, making the choice between the two target options more challenging.
The presence of the decoy can influence your decision-making by making one of the two target options appear more appealing in comparison. This is because the decoy creates a relative comparison that highlights the strengths of one of the target options and the weaknesses of the other.
In many cases, the presence of the decoy can lead people to shift their preferences and choose the target option that now seems more favorable due to the presence of the less attractive decoy. This shift is often irrational from an objective standpoint but is a result of the cognitive bias created by the decoy effect.
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