Making a Choice

Do you ever find that when you provide people a choice between 2 things that they always seem to pick the wrong one? If you want to influence what people select take the series of experiments done in the Predictably Irrational chapter called “The Truth about Relativity: Why Everything is Relative – Even When It Shouldn’t Be.”

Try the experiment done with a magazine subscription. One magazine had a very interesting deal.

( ) buy the online version for 59

( ) buy the physical copy for 125

( ) buy the online and physical copy for 125

Why do this? Well they were guaranteed more people would take the 3rd option for 125. If they removed the physical copy by itself most people would take the online version for 59.

To make this more generic, any time you have an Option A and an Option B, if you provide an option A-, most people will select A.

It does not matter whether it is magazines, TVs, people for dates or buying houses. If you provide 2 options and make one of them a less version of the same thing. People will take the full version. They will do this even if option B is the better fit. However when you take away A- it is not always clear what people will select.

Dan theorizes that this happens because people try to compare what they know. If there is only A and B you do not know what they are comparing to because A and B are different so they use something in life that is familiar to them. When you add A- the person is really comparing and A and A- and discounting B almost completely.

So the next time you are trying to get a decision made and you provide choices A and B, remember to add A- if you really want people to pick A.

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