The effect of choice complexity on perception of time spent choosing: When choice takes longer but feels shorter



Two studies examine the effect of the complexity of the choice environment on the perceived duration of the time spent choosing. The experiments demonstrate that the estimation of the time spent making a decision is affected by the number of options available in the choice set. In Experiment 1, participants having to choose 1 of 24 mobile phones tended to underestimate the time spent whereas participants confronted with the choice of 6 mobile phones tended to overestimate the actual time spent. Experiment 2 corroborates this finding, in the presence of varying degrees of attribute correlation. We conclude with theoretical and practical implications for marketers. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.