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Abstract

In the present study, we apply the multiple cue probability learning (MCPL) paradigm to examine consumer learning from feedback in repeated trials. This paradigm is useful in investigating consumer learning, especially learning the relationships between the overall quality and attributes. With this paradigm, we can analyze what people learn from repeated trials by using the lens model, i.e., whether it is knowledge or consistency. In addition to introducing this paradigm, we aim to demonstrate that knowledge people gain from repeated trials with feedback is robust enough to weaken one of the most often examined contextual effects, the asymmetric dominance effect. The experiment consists of learning session and a choice task and stimuli are sport rafting boats with motor engines. During the learning session, the participants are shown an option with three attributes and are asked to evaluate its overall quality and type in a number between 0 and 100. Then an expert`s evaluation, a number between 0 and 100, is provided as feedback. This trial is repeated fifteen times with different sets of attributes, which comprises one learning session. Depending on the conditions, the participants do one (low) or three (high) learning sessions or do not go through any learning session (no learning). After learning session, the participants then are provided with either a core or an extended choice set to make a choice to examine if learning from feedback would weaken the asymmetric dominance effect. The experiment uses a between-subjects experimental design (2 ⅹ 3; core set vs. extended set; no vs. low vs. high learning). The results show that the participants evaluate the overall qualities more accurately with learning. They learn the true trade-off rule between attributes (increase in knowledge) and become more consistent in their evaluations. Regarding the choice task, there is a significant decrease in the percentage of choosing the target option in the extended sets with learning, which clearly demonstrates that learning decreases the magnitude of the asymmetric dominance effect. However, these results are significant only when no learning condition is compared either to low or high learning condition. There is no significant result between low and high learning conditions, which may be due to fatigue or reflect the characteristics of learning curve. The present study introduces the MCPL paradigm in examining consumer learning and demonstrates that learning from feedback increases both knowledge and consistency and weakens the asymmetric dominance effect. The latter result may suggest that the previous demonstrations of the asymmetric dominance effect are somewhat exaggerated. In a single choice setting, people do not have enough information or experience about the stimuli, which may lead them to depend mostly on the contextual structure among options. In the future, more realistic stimuli and real experts` judgments can be used to increase the external validity of study results. In addition, consumers often learn through repeated choices in real consumer settings. Therefore, what consumers learn from feedback in repeated choices would be an interesting topic to investigate.

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