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A comparative analysis of probabilistic linguistic preference relations and distributed preference relations for decision making


When a decision-maker prefers to compare different alternatives in pairs to handle real situations, there are many different expression styles that can be used. Two representative expression styles are the probabilistic linguistic preference relation (PLPR), which originates from the fuzzy linguistic approach and the distributed preference relation (DPR), which originates from the evidential reasoning approach. Although these two expression styles look quite similar, their meanings, operations, and relevant decision making processes are significantly different. This presents the decision-maker with the challenge of selecting either PLPRs or DPRs in different real cases. To address this issue, this paper provides a detailed analysis of the similarities and differences between PLPRs and DPRs. The analysis is conducted from five perspectives, including modeling of decision making problems, handling of uncertainty, consistency between preference relations, information aggregation, and elicitation process. An engineer selection problem for an automobile manufacturing enterprise is investigated to demonstrate how to appropriately select PLPRs or DPRs to model and analyze decision making problems in real situations with consideration for the preferences of decision-makers.

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This research is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 72001063, 71571060, 71690235, and 71690230) and by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (JZ2020HGTA0082). In addition, this research is supported by NSFC-Zhejiang Joint Fund for the Integration of Industrialization and Informatization (U1709215).

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Correspondence to Chao Fu.

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Xue, M., Fu, C. & Yang, S. A comparative analysis of probabilistic linguistic preference relations and distributed preference relations for decision making. Fuzzy Optim Decis Making 21, 71–97 (2022).

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  • Decision making
  • Probabilistic linguistic preference relations
  • Distributed preference relations
  • Consistency
  • Information aggregation
  • Comparative analysis