SBEE Seminar Series: Wes Hutchinson

Mon, 04/15/2019 - 11:30am to 1:00pm

Ross School of Business, 701 Tappan St., Room 0420

Information Search within a Webpage: Boundedly Rational Models of Eye Movements and Clicks


We build a model of information search within a webpage using eye-tracking data collected during two incentive-compatible, online shopping experiments. We assume that shoppers make eye fixation decisions based on the attractiveness of the visual elements on the page and the effort of moving their eyes towards those elements. These elements contain product information and clickable links to new pages. After each fixation, shoppers choose either to continue search or to end search by clicking on a link within a fixated element when its attractiveness crosses a decision threshold. Our model contains dynamics that allow for Bayesian updating of product information, decision threshold trends, and one-stage ahead decision inputs. Using posterior predictive checks, we demonstrate that our model makes accurate in-sample predictions regarding the sequence of fixations and clicks. In Experiment 1, we use counterfactual simulations to predict the effects of hypothetical product layouts. In Experiment 2, we empirically test these counterfactual predictions. We also conduct sensitivity analyses to assess how near to optimally shoppers searched. These results provide guidance for the design of online product displays.

Speaker Bio

Wes Hutchinson is Stephen J. Heyman Professor and Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on consumer and managerial decision making, particularly the interrelationships among attention, learning, confidence, decision making, and expertise in repeated choice environments. His recent research projects include modeling the effects of visual attention at the point of purchase on in-store decisions using eye-tracking data, developing new measures of consumer responses to advertising, mass customization of product aesthetics, and intuitive statistical reasoning as part of decision making. A past president of the Association for Consumer Research, Professor Hutchinson has published articles in a variety of top-tier journals in business and psychology. He is on the editorial review boards of the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Marketing Research, and Marketing Science, and he has won several academic awards. Professor Hutchinson’s teaching interests include courses in New Product Development (UG and MBA), the Social Impact of Marketing (UG and MBA), Research Methods (PhD), and teaching Essentials of Marketing for Wharton’s Executive Education program. He received his PhD in psychology from Stanford University and his BS in psychology from Duke University. Significant personal failures include never really learning to speak Spanish or play the guitar, among others too numerous to list.