Does Matching up Features Mess up Job Choice? Boundary Conditions on Attribute-Salience Effects

Jerel E. Slaughter, Scott Highhouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Research in decision making has suggested that the degree to which features of an option are shared versus unique influences preferences in a way that violates normative rules. The generalizability of these findings to job choice was investigated. Senior-level, undergraduate job seekers (N = 216) were presented with three jobs from which they were asked to choose one. Attributes for two of the jobs (A and B) remained invariant across conditions, and attributes for a third job (C) were manipulated such that it shared unfavorable features with one of the invariant jobs (A or B) and favorable attributes with the other job (B or A). Results suggested that jobs with unique positive features and shared negative features were preferred over those with unique negative features and shared positive features only when information was presented in a simple (versus complex) format and when participants did not rate the importance of attributes prior to the choice task. We suggest that inferences from feature-matching research should be qualified by these boundary conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Behavioral Decision Making
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2003


  • Feature matching
  • Job choice
  • Missing information
  • Unique features

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Decision Sciences
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Strategy and Management


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