Visual attention in multi-attributes choices: what can eye-tracking tell us?

Nicolas Krucien, Mandy Ryan, Frouke Hermens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)
37 Downloads (Pure)


Choice experiments (CE), involving multi-attribute choices, are increasingly used in economics to value non-marketed goods. Such choices require individuals to process large amounts of information, shown to trigger partial information strategies in participants. We develop a new framework in which information processing is treated as a latent (unobservable) process. Testing our approach by combining CE and visual attention (VA) data gathered from eye-tracking, we show that treating information processing as a latent process (LIP) outperforms models assuming full information processing (FIP) or binary information processing (BIP). Our modelling of VA results in a number of key findings. We show that the relationship between VA and individuals’ preferences depends on the type of product attribute. More specifically, preferences for “easier to process” attributes appear to be less influenced by changes in underlying level of VA than “harder to process” attributes. In turn this impacts on willingness-to-pay estimates, with the LIP model resulting in smaller values than those obtained with the FIP model. Our results have implications for CE designers. More time should be spent getting subjects to understand more complicated attributes of the CE. Our results are likely to extend beyond experimental choices (stated preferences) to actual choices (revealed preferences).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251–267
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Early online date11 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

The University of Aberdeen (UoA) and the Chief Scientist Office (CSO) of the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates fund the Health Economics Research Unit (HERU). We thank Pavlos Topalidis for help with data collection and thank all participants for taking part. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not those of the funding bodies.


  • choice experiment
  • stated preferences
  • eye-tracking
  • information processing
  • choice modelling


Dive into the research topics of 'Visual attention in multi-attributes choices: what can eye-tracking tell us?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this