An introduction to "discrete choice experiments" for behavior analysts

Behav Processes. 2022 May;198:104628. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2022.104628. Epub 2022 Mar 27.


In this paper, we introduce discrete choice experiments (DCEs) and provide foundational knowledge on the topic. DCEs are one of the most popular methods within econometrics to study the distribution of choices within a population. DCEs are particularly useful when studying the effects of categorical variables on choice. Procedurally, a DCE involves recruiting a large sample of individuals exposed to a set of choice arrays. The factors that are suspected to affect choice are varied systematically across the choice arrays. Most commonly, DCE data are analyzed with a multinomial logit statistical model with a goal of determining the relative utility of each relevant factor. We also discuss DCEs in comparison with behavioral choice models, such as those based on the matching law, and we show an example of a DCE to illustrate how a DCE can be used to understand choice with behavioral, social, and organizational factors.

Keywords: Choice; Discrete choice experiment; Matching law; Preference.

MeSH terms

  • Choice Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Models, Statistical
  • Patient Preference*