→ Dan from Now I Know explains The Decoy Effect

An explanation of the “decoy effect”:

In 2007, the Washington Post covered a situation on which the above is based, postulated by a marketing professor from Duke University named Joel Huber. Professor Huber assembled two groups of people to test the effect of this seemingly irrelevant choice. The first of Huber’s groups were, like the example above, given two choices — the nearby 3-star restaurant and the further 5-star restaurant, and they split based on preference. Some, as above, wished a quicker fix to their hunger while others wanted a higher quality dining experience.

The members of the second group were given three choices, including the 4-star eatery much further away. What Huber found was that this logically irrelevant option was anything but. As the Post reported, “people now gravitated toward the five-star choice, since it was better and closer than the third candidate. (The three-star restaurant was closer, but not as good as the new candidate.)” And in a different test, when the second group was given a a two-star restaurant which was closer than the 5-star one but farther than the 3-star option, “many people now chose the three-star restaurant, because it beat the new option on convenience and quality. (The five-star restaurant outdid this third candidate on only one measure, quality.)” Basically: the obviously-lesser option made one of the “real” choices seem suddenly better.

Something to keep in mind next time I am trying to suggest where to eat.1

  1. I say while holding my 32GB iPhone.