Sela is an expert on how people make decisions and form evaluations. His work highlights how everyday decisions are shaped by people's momentary experiences, intuitions, and the inferences they draw, as well as by seemingly unimportant features of the decision context.
Industry Expertise (3)
Areas of Expertise (7)
Inference-making and Attribution
Media Appearances (5)
Consumers Habitually Seek the Middle Ground
UCLA Anderson Review online
In a review of published and unpublished research, Stanford’s Itamar Simonson, the University of Florida’s Aner Sela and UCLA Anderson’s Sanjay Sood suggest a less dynamic process might be at play. They find that the behavioral bias of “extremeness aversion” is an ingrained habit that can influence consumer choice.
A Smarter Way to Think About Financial Decisions
The New York Times online
“There's something about financial decisions that goes beyond knowledge,” Aner Sela, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Florida...
Don't Be Surprised If Apple's iPhone X Doesn't Make You Happier
Aner Sela, a marketing professor at the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business, studied this tendency toward comparison neglect — particularly when presented with upgrades. His work (specifically in the context of smart phones) shows that few people actually compare features unless we are prompted to do so (more details on the study are here) which is the last thing a company with the insane marketing savvy of Apple is going to do for you.
How Apple Lures Us Into Buying New iPhones We Don’t Need
The Huffington Post online
“‘Comparison neglect’ is the name we gave to people’s tendency to insufficiently compare potential upgrades to what they already have,” study co-author Dr. Aner Sela, a marketing professor at the University of Florida, told The Huffington Post. “Although people know that is important to do, they often fail to do so and consequently buy more upgrades than they would have had they followed their own recommendation.”
Too Much Variety Can Hurt the Value of a Product
Big Think online
Authors Jordan Etkin and Aner Sela write: "Consumers often use the same product in the same way in multiple situations, and these situations may differ in variety. Across many different products and usage scenarios, we found the same result: When people perceived more variety among a product's usage situations, they liked the product less."
Product Lineups: The More You Search, The Less You FindJournal of Consumer Research
Sang Kyu Park, Aner Sela
2020 Consumers often try to visually identify a previously encountered product among a sequence of similar items, guided only by their memory and a few general search terms. What determines their success at correctly identifying the target product in such “product lineups”? The current research finds that the longer consumers search sequentially, the more conservative and—ironically—inaccurate judges they become. Consequently, the more consumers search, the more likely they are to erroneously reject the correct target when it finally appears in the lineup. This happens because each time consumers evaluate a similar item in the lineup, and determine that it is not the option for which they have been looking, they draw an implicit inference that the correct target should feel more familiar than the similar items rejected up to that point. This causes the subjective feeling of familiarity consumers expect to experience with the true target to progressively escalate, making them more conservative but also less accurate judges. The findings have practical implications for consumers and marketers, and make theoretical contributions to research on inference-making, online search, and product recognition.
Alexa, I Want It Now: How Conversational Artificial Intelligence Agents Shape Consumer DecisionsACR North American Advances
Sang Kyu Park, Yegyu Han, Aner Sela
2020 AI-enabled conversational platforms such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant have begun to permeate consumers’ daily lives. Yet, a dearth of research has studied how they affect consumer behavior. We show that consumers make more impulsive and less frugal choices when interacting with a conversational AI platform than when choosing on a computer screen or interacting with a text-based chat-bot. This is because the transient nature of the conversation makes it harder for consumers to process prices and other quantitative details associated with the cost of the transaction.
Roads Or Rome? How Product Categorization Shapes the Attributions and Consequences of Choice DifficultyACR North American Advances
Xiang Wang, Aner Sela
2020 How difficult was your last decision? How did this difficulty during the decision process affect your choice? Consumers often face difficult decisions (Tversky and Shafir 1992). Choice difficulty shapes, and is shaped by, effort invested in the decision process (Dhar 1997; Iyengar and Lepper 2000). The proposed session joins together four papers offering a new perspective on these questions, examining how features of the choice context and decision process affect perceived choice difficulty, with implications for consumers’ information search. They further examine perceived and objective effort invested in choosing, with outcomes for choice confidence and valuation of their chosen product.
On Phone and Self: How Smartphones Influence Self-Expression in ChoiceACR North American Advances
Camilla Eunyoung Song, Aner Sela
2020 We examine whether using a smartphone, as opposed to a personal computer (PC) or tablet, influences what consumers choose and how they view the choices they make. We show that using smartphones leads consumers to prefer more unique options and to perceive their own choices, once made, as more self-expressive.
Variety-Seeking and Perceived ExpertiseJournal of Consumer Psychology
Aner Sela, Liat Hadar, Siân Morgan, Michal Maimaran
2019 People often infer expertise from the choice of unique, rare, or sophisticated options. But might mere variety-seeking also serve as a signal of expertise, and if so, how? Six studies show that the relationship between variety-seeking and perceived expertise is not unidirectional and depends on the perceiver's own level of expertise. Category experts perceive lower variety-seeking as indicative of discernment, which in turn increases perceived expertise in that category. Consequently, experts choose less variety to portray themselves as experts. In contrast, novices perceive high variety-seeking as indicative of category breadth knowledge, which in turn increases their perception of category expertise. Consequently, novices choose more variety to portray themselves as experts. The findings make novel theoretical contributions to research on variety-seeking, consumer expertise, and social perception, as well as practical contributions for marketers of product assortments and bundles.