Why the first letter of your last name matters
Sent from frequent reader and commenter Jon Zeitler:
When individuals make choices from lists, does the list ordering matter? There may be a ‘primacy effect’, where individuals are biased towards selecting items earlier in the list. Conversely, there may be a ‘recency effect’, i.e. a tendency to select items towards the end of the list. …
With the advent of the internet and the digitisation of journals and working papers, consumers now typically select which papers to read from electronic lists rather than browsing among journals in libraries.
From the conclusion:
Accounting for the bias that can arise from presentation order is clearly important when designing choice mechanisms in list-based environments, and simple solutions include randomising the order of presentation, or by building this bias into list-ordering algorithms to achieve policymaker objectives.
(Image source: http://www.leisureandculturedundee.com/a2z)