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The neglect of prescreening information

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Several studies show that information used to screen alternatives becomes less important than information acquired later in the search process simply because it was used to screen. Experiment 1 shows that the tendency to deemphasize prescreening information leads to systematically different choices for decision makers who screen alternatives compared with decision makers who do not screen alternatives. Additional studies show that screening encourages decision makers to shift their emphasis from prescreening information to postscreening information (Experiment 2). Prescreening information is deemphasized because of the categorization that occurs when people create a consideration set of retained alternatives (Experiments 3 and 4). Together, the results show that a brand's strength of consideration (i.e., how highly an option ranks on screening criteria) may have little influence on the likelihood of it being chosen in a postscreening choice process.

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