Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Kaywana Raeburn


Option Set Size, Option Presentation Style


Previous studies support the existence of two phenomena: choice overload, where more choice options have negative effects for a consumer (Scheibehenne et al. 2010); and the pictorial superiority effect, stating that pictorial stimuli is more easily recognized than written text (Nelson et al. 1976). Townsend and Kahn (2014) studied these effects by examining different sized choice sets and stimuli types, specifically pictorial (visual) and textual (text-based). In this study, I extend the work of Townsend and Kahn (2014) by introducing a combination presentation of image-based and text-based elements in addition to the pictorial and textual presentations studied before. This study examines the effect of presentation of options (pictorial, textual, or combination) and choice set size (8 or 27) on choice overload, measured through opt-out decision, perceived variety, and perceived complexity which contribute to consumer experience of choice overload. I find significantly higher perceived complexity and perceived variety for 27 item choice sets compared to 8 item choice sets and for text-based presentation compared to image-based presentation. Since perceived variety and perceived complexity factor into consumer experience of choice overload, these results support the existence of choice overload. In addition, I find that perceived variety for the combination presentation of image-based and text-based elements is significantly higher than that of image-based presentation, and that perceived complexity for the combination presentation is marginally significantly higher than that of image-based presentation. These results are applicable to online businesses and online shopping platforms in regard to consumer purchasing behavior. By structuring online presentation of options in a way that is not highly complex and does not have high variety, consumers will be less likely to experience choice overload and more likely to buy items, therefore benefiting the online businesses and online shopping platforms.