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Year 6/2019 
Issue 31

Irrelevant Alternatives Matter! Review Of Literature On The Asymmetric Dominance Effect

Maciej Kościelniak
SWPS Uniwersytet Humanistycznospołeczny

Tadeusz Tyszka
Kozminski University

6/2019 (31) Decyzje

DOI 10.7206/DEC.1733-0092.123


In this article we attempt to summarize the fi ndings from a number of studies on the asymmetric dominance effect (attraction effect, decoy effect). This is a phenomenon where popularity of one of the decision alternatives increases when accompanied by a similar but inferior (dominated) option. Scientifi c research and numerous observational studies show that the attraction effect occurs in various fi elds, incl. the economy, politics, law or medicine. In the literature there are many ambiguities and contradictory theories about, for example, its determinants in the light of the dual-systems theory. It is not ntirely clear whether the phenomenon of asymmetric domination is the result of a refl ective, deliberative way of information processing or of quick and intuitive thinking. There is also no unequivocal answer to the question whether this effect is a manifestation of human irrationality or whether it is an adaptive and effective decision-making strategy in conditions of uncertainty and information noise. The article contains a broad overview of research on the effect of asymmetric dominance among people and animals. The hanges in the susceptibility to this effect across the lifespan are analysed. Finally, the paper discusses using the asymmetric dominance effect to achieve socially desirable goals as described in the theory of libertarian paternalism.


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Kościelniak, Maciej & Tyszka, Tadeusz (2019). Irrelevant Alternatives Matter! Review Of Literature On The Asymmetric Dominance Effect. (2019). Irrelevant Alternatives Matter! Review Of Literature On The Asymmetric Dominance Effect. Decyzje, (31), 91-114. https://doi.org/10.7206/DEC.1733-0092.123 (Original work published 6/2019AD)

MLA style

Kościelniak, Maciej and Tyszka, Tadeusz. “Irrelevant Alternatives Matter! Review Of Literature On The Asymmetric Dominance Effect”. 6/2019AD. Decyzje, no. 31, 2019, pp. 91-114.

Chicago style

Kościelniak, Maciej and Tyszka, Tadeusz. “Irrelevant Alternatives Matter! Review Of Literature On The Asymmetric Dominance Effect”. Decyzje, Decyzje, no. 31 (2019): 91-114. doi:10.7206/DEC.1733-0092.123.