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Forskningsartikel2023Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

Covert Attention Leads to Fast and Accurate Decision-Making

Perkovic, Sonja; Schoemann, Martin; Lagerkvist, Carl-Johan; Orquin, Jacob L.


Decision-makers are regularly faced with more choice information than they can directly gaze at in a limited amount of time. Many theories assume that because decision-makers attend to information sequentially and overtly, that is, with direct gaze, they must respond to information overload by trading off between speed and decision accuracy. By reanalyzing five published studies, we show that participants, besides using overt attention, also use covert attention. That is, without being instructed to do so, participants attend to information without direct gaze to evaluate choice attributes that lead them to either choose the best or reject the worst option. We show that the use of covert attention is common for most participants and more so when information is easily identifiable in the peripheral visual field due to being large or visually salient. Covert attention is associated with faster decision times suggesting that participants might process multiple pieces of information simultaneously using distributed attention. Our findings highlight the importance of covert attention in decision-making and show how decision-makers may be gaining speed while retaining high levels of decision accuracy. We discuss how harnessing covert attention can benefit consumer decision-making of healthy and sustainable products.Public Significance Statement During shopping, consumers often spend time looking at product information, such as brands, prices, and product labels, before making decisions. When product information is visually prominent, consumers can identify the information covertly, that is, through the corner of their eyes. We show that consumers use covert attention to identify product information and that covert attention is associated with faster choices. Producers can help consumers to save time by enhancing the visual prominence of product information, for instance, by using larger or brighter labels.


covert attention; peripheral vision; decision-making; consumer choice; eye tracking

Publicerad i

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied
2023, Volym: 29, nummer: 1, sidor: 78-94 Utgivare: AMER PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOC

      Globala målen

      SDG12 Hållbar konsumtion och produktion

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      Tillämpad psykologi

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