Does Attention Increase the Value of Choice Alternatives?

Trends Cogn Sci. 2021 Apr;25(4):305-315. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2021.01.004. Epub 2021 Feb 3.


A growing recognition of the role of attention in decision-making has been driven by both the technology of eye tracking and the development of models that explicitly incorporate attention. One result of this convergence is the arresting claim that attention, by itself, can increase the perceived value of a decision alternative. In this review, we cover the origins of that claim, its empirical foundation, and the reasoning that supports it. The conclusion is that, to date, there is not sufficient evidence to support the claim. Alternative explanations for the extant evidentiary base are discussed, as is the balance between the bottom-up influence of empirical evidence and the top-down commitment to a conceptual framework.

Keywords: attention; drift diffusion model; eye tracking; preferential choice; response times.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention*
  • Choice Behavior
  • Decision Making*
  • Humans