Proportion Dominance: The Generality and Variability of Favoring Relative Savings Over Absolute Savings
20 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2011
Date Written: 2006
Four studies probe Ps' sensitivity to absolute and relative savings. In three studies, Ps read scenarios forcing a tradeoff of saving more lives (230 vs. 225) vs. saving a larger proportion of a population (225 ‚ 230 = 75% vs. 230 ‚ 920 = 25%). Ps' preferences were driven by both absolute and relative savings. Maximizing relative savings, called ‘‘proportion dominance’’ (PD), at the expense of absolute savings is non-normative, and most participants concur with this argument upon reflection (Studies 2 and 3). PD is related to individual differences, such that people scored as ‘‘rational’’ thinkers exhibited less PD than people scored as ‘‘experiential’’ thinkers (Studies 1 and 3). Finally, a fourth study extends these results, finding proportion dominance in other domains using a different paradigm. These four studies demonstrate both the generality (across domains and paradigms) and the variability (inter- and intraindividual) of proportion dominance.
Keywords: Decision making, Choice, Preference, Value of life, Proportion dominance, Individual differences, Evaluability, Risk perception
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