Extremeness aversion and attribute-balance effects in choice

Alexander Chernev*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Consumers often make decisions based on the extremeness of choice alternatives. Prior research has argued that extremeness aversion is a function of the relational properties of choice alternatives and that the middle option, defined such that its attribute values are between the values of the other alternatives, is always viewed as the least extreme, compromise option. The attribute-balance hypothesis advanced in this article extends prior research, demonstrating that extremeness aversion is also a function of the dispersion of attribute values within each alternative. In particular, it is argued that an option with equal attribute ratings will be perceived as the compromise alternative even when it is not the middle option. Data from three studies support this prediction, offering converging evidence for the attribute-balance effect in different decision contexts. Theoretical implications of the findings are discussed in the context of the extant extremeness aversion research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-263
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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