Consumers can make decisions in as little as a third of a second

Milica Milosavljevic, Christof Koch, Antonio Rangel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


We make hundreds of decisions every day, many of them extremely quickly and without much explicit deliberation. This motivates two important open questions: What is the minimum time required to make choices with above chance accuracy? What is the impact of additional decision-making time on choice accuracy? We investigated these questions in four experiments in which subjects made binary food choices using saccadic or manual responses, under either "speed" or "accuracy" instructions. Subjects were able to make above chance decisions in as little as 313 ms, and choose their preferred food item in over 70% of trials at average speeds of 404 ms. Further, slowing down their responses by either asking them explicitly to be confident about their choices, or to respond with hand movements, generated about a 10% increase in accuracy. Together, these results suggest that consumers can make accurate every-day choices, akin to those made in a grocery store, at significantly faster speeds than previously reported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)520-530
Number of pages11
JournalJudgment and Decision Making
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011


  • Accuracy
  • Choice
  • Consumer
  • Decision-making
  • Eye-tracking
  • Grocery store
  • Speed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Economics and Econometrics


Dive into the research topics of 'Consumers can make decisions in as little as a third of a second'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this