Receiving advice on matters of taste: Similarity, majority influence, and taste discrimination

Ilan Yaniv*, Shoham Choshen-Hillel, Maxim Milyavsky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations

Abstract

People routinely consider the opinions of others prior to making decisions on matters of taste (e.g., a restaurant or movie). Our theoretical framework highlights the role of two sources, social (majority) influence and similarity among advisors, in such decisions. We suggest that individuals' use of these sources depends on their taste discrimination. While highly discriminating judges seek the opinion of a similar advisor rather than the majority opinion, less discriminating judges do so less. In four studies participants made musical choices based on recommendations. The studies document the great appeal of behavioral similarity and the role of demographic similarity. They also provide evidence for the discrimination hypothesis. A formal simulation is developed to account for the relationship between taste discrimination and the predictive accuracy of the majority and of similar advisors. The results shed light on theories of advice utilization and social influence, and are connected with applications involving personalized recommendation systems.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)111-120
Number of pages10
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Volume115
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Grant Nos. 344/05 and 327/10 from the Israel Science Foundation to the first author.

Keywords

  • Advisors
  • Decision making
  • Majority influence
  • Opinions
  • Preferences
  • Similarity

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