Study reveals “Top 10” effect in rankings

December 10, 2013

A new study on how rankings are perceived reveals that people tend to mentally group things into fives and tens, and see exaggerated disparity between numbers ending in zeros or fives – meaning that one’s specific placement on a ranking matters less than where one places relative to 5 or 10. “This study tells us that if you’re at 15 and it’s going to take a lot of work to get into the Top 10, you may not want to make that investment. But if you’re at 11, it may really be worth it because that one spot could make a huge difference in the minds of consumers,” says co-author Mathew Isaac, an Assistant Professor at the Albers School of Business and Economics at Seattle University. The study is based on several experiments in various settings in which people react to rankings. Isaac and co-author Robert Schindler of Rutgers University, call this the “Top 10 Effect.” | Study Abstract