The effect of Flash banners on multiattribute decision making: Distractor or source of arousal?



The role of peripheral flash advertisements in decision making as a distractor or a source of arousal was examined. Participants were asked to perform multiattribute decision making in a display environment with or without banners of advertisement flashing occasionally in the peripheral region of the display. The flash banners accelerated the speed of decision making, although the participants rarely made eye movements in response to the banners or fixated their eyes on them. It was interesting to note that the participants' pupil sizes increased with the presence of flash banners. These findings suggest that rather than distracting participants' attention, flash banners appear to elevate the general level of arousal of the participants, which in turn led to making faster on-line decisions. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.