Purdue University Graduate School
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The Effect of Choice on Memory and Value for Consumer Products

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posted on 2021-05-06, 13:35 authored by Michelle E CoverdaleMichelle E Coverdale
There is evidence that after a person chooses between two items, the chosen item is more memorable than the unchosen alternative. This is known as the chosen-item effect (Coverdale & Nairne, 2019). We frequently make choices, such as which restaurant to visit for dinner, or which brand of shampoo to buy, and what we choose in these situations can influence what we remember. In the field of consumer behavior, it is believed that memory for brand names and products influences consumer purchasing behaviors. As such, we were interested in investigating whether the chosen-item effect could be extended to memory for brands and product names. If choosing a brand name or product makes it more memorable, then companies can apply the chosen-item effect to improve an item’s memorability and potentially increase sales of that item. In three experiments we investigated whether the chosen-item effect can be extended to memory for products (Experiment 1) and brand names (Experiment 2 & 4b) and found a mnemonic benefit for items that were chosen over those that were not chosen.
In addition to the relationship between choice and memory, there is also a relationship between choice and value. We hypothesized that people would be willing to pay more for items that they have previously chosen, in addition to having better memory for them. We conducted a second set of experiments (Experiments 3 & 4a) to investigate whether the chosen-item effect extends beyond memory to value. We found that items that have previously been chosen were not perceived as being more valuable than those that were not chosen. This finding has theoretical implications for research on the mechanism(s) responsible for the chosen-item effect.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Psychological Sciences

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

James S. Nairne

Additional Committee Member 2

Darryl W. Schneider

Additional Committee Member 3

Jeffrey D. Karpicke

Additional Committee Member 4

Thomas S. Redick