Preference Reversals Between Joint and Separate Evaluations of Options: A Review and Theoretical Analysis

Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 125, No. 5, 1999

Harvard NOM Working Paper No. 06-14

16 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2006  

Christopher K. Hsee

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business

George Loewenstein

Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Social and Decision Sciences

Sally Blount

New York University (NYU) - Department of Management and Organizational Behavior

Max H. Bazerman

Harvard Business School - Negotiations, Organizations and Markets Unit

Abstract

Arguably, all judgments and decisions are made in 1 (or some combination) of 2 basic evaluation modes-joint evaluation mode (JE), in which multiple options are presented simultaneously and evaluated comparatively, or separate evaluation mode (SE), in which options are presented in isolation and evaluated separately. This article reviews recent literature showing that people evaluated options differently and exhibit reversals of preferences for options between JE and SE. The authors propose an explanation for the JE/SE reversal based on a principle called the evaluability hypothesis. The hypothesis posits that it is more diffecult to evaluate the desirability of values on some attributes than on others and that, compared with easy-to-evaluate attributes, difficult-to-evaluate attributes have a greater impact in JE than in SE.

Keywords: evaluability, joint evaluation, separate evaluation, preference reversal, utility function

JEL Classification: D81, D11, D12, D91

Suggested Citation

Hsee, Christopher K. and Loewenstein, George and Blount, Sally and Bazerman, Max H., Preference Reversals Between Joint and Separate Evaluations of Options: A Review and Theoretical Analysis. Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 125, No. 5, 1999; Harvard NOM Working Paper No. 06-14. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=930076

Christopher K. Hsee (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

George F. Loewenstein

Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Social and Decision Sciences ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
412-268-8787 (Phone)
412-268-6938 (Fax)

Sally Blount

New York University (NYU) - Department of Management and Organizational Behavior ( email )

44 West 4th Street
Suite 7-52
New York, NY 10012
United States
212-998-0233 (Phone)
212-995-4234 (Fax)

Max H. Bazerman

Harvard Business School - Negotiations, Organizations and Markets Unit ( email )

Soldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6429 (Phone)
617-496-4191 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.people.hbs.edu/mbazerman

Paper statistics

Downloads
444
Rank
50,836
Abstract Views
3,088