Simonson et al. present an ambitious sketch of an integrative theory of context. Provoked by this thoughtful proposal, I discuss what is the function of theories of choice in the coming decades. Traditionally, choice models and theory have attempted to predict choices as a function of the attributes of options. I argue that to be truly useful, they need to generate specific and quantitative predictions of the effect of the choice environment upon choice probability. To do this, we need to focus on rigorously modeling and measuring the underlying processes causing these effects, and use the Simonson et al. proposal to provide some examples. I also present some examples from research in decision-making and decision neuroscience, and argue that models that fail, and fail spectacularly are particularly useful. I close with a challenge: How would consumer researcher aid the design of real world choice environments such as the health exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?
Journal of Consumer Psychologyvol.
23, (January 01, 2013):