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Facilitating Decision Making through Attribute Matching


Across 11 studies, the authors demonstrate a novel framing effect, attribute matching, whereby matching a salient attribute of a decision frame with that of a decision’s options facilitates decision making. This attribute matching is shown to increase decision confidence and, ultimately, consensus estimates by increasing feelings of metacognitive ease. In Study 1, participants choosing the more attractive of two faces or rejecting the less attractive face reported greater confidence in and perceived consensus around their decision. Study 2 extended this finding from valence to calorie judgments, whereas Studies 3-5 extended the effect to different post-decision attitudes. Study 6 found decision ease mediates these changes in confidence and consensus estimates. Consistent with a misattribution account, when participants were warned to this external source of ease in Study 7, the effect disappeared. Studies 8-10 rule out alternative accounts, such as response substitution and language effects. The final study demonstrates attribute matching in a more realistic context. The paper concludes with a discussion of related psychological constructs as well as potential downstream consequences.

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