Consumers' tendency to choose the option in the center of an array and the process underlying this effect is explored. Findings from two eye-tracking studies suggest that brands in the horizontal center receive more visual attention. They are more likely to be chosen. Investigation of the attention process revealed an initial central fixation bias, a tendency to look first at the central option, and a central gaze cascade effect, progressively increasing attention focused on the central option right prior to decision. Only the central gaze cascade effect was related to choice. An offline study with tangible products demonstrated that the centrally located item within a product category is chosen more often, even when it is not placed in the center of the visual field. Despite widespread use, memory-based attention measures were not correlated with eye-tracking measures. They did not capture visual attention and were not related to choice.
Bibliographical note© 2012 by Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.
Submitted version accepted for publication by Journal of Consumer Research on 3/5/12
Atalay, A. S., Bodur, H. O., & Rasolofoarison, D. (2012). Shining in the center: central gaze cascade effect on product choice. Journal of Consumer Research, 39(4), 848-866. https://doi.org/10.1086/665984