Advertisement

Journal of Risk and Uncertainty

, Volume 19, Issue 1–3, pp 139–164 | Cite as

Construal Processes in Preference Assessment

  • Baruch Fischhoff
  • Ned Welch
  • Shane Frederick
Article

Abstract

Interpreting people's preferences requires understanding how they have construed their tasks, interpreting the proposed alternatives in the context where the evaluation is being made. With stylized experimental or survey choices, researchers' challenge is typically identifying the features that people add in order to make their task real enough to answer (i.e., how they read between the lines). With rich “real world” choices, researchers' challenge is typically identifying the features that people neglect, as they reduce their task to manageable complexity (i.e., which lines they choose to read). In either case, if people misunderstand or mistrust the stated transaction, they may evaluate a different offer than the one that was proposed. Such misconstruals are a nuisance for investigators, insofar as dealing with them delays the measurements that motivated the research. However, they can also provide an opportunity, by focusing attention on how people give meaning to choice situations. This article describes procedures for studying construal processes, strategies for getting people to answer the questions that interest researchers, and options for interpreting responses when people construe questions differently than was intended.

preferences elicitation construal values environments 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Becker, G. (1976). The Economic Approach to Human Behavior. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bostrom, A., M. G. Morgan, B. Fischhoff, and D. Read. (1994). ''What Do People Know about Global Climate Change? Part 1. Mental models,'' Risk Analysis 14, 959–970.Google Scholar
  3. Carson, R. T., W. M. Hangmann, R. J. Kopp, J. A. Krosnick, R. C. Mitchell, S. Presser, P. A. Rudd, and V. K. Smith. (1994). ''Prospective Interim Lost Use Value Due to DDT and PCB Contamination in the Southern California Bight,'' NOAA Contract No. 50-DGNC-1-D0007.Google Scholar
  4. Clemen, R. (1991). Making Hard Decisions: An Introduction to Decision Analysis. Boston: PWS-Kent.Google Scholar
  5. Dawes, R. M. and B. Corrigan. (1974). ''Linear Models in Decision Making,'' Psychological Bulletin, 81, 95–106.Google Scholar
  6. Desvousges, W. H., V. K. Smith, and A. Fisher. (1987). ''Option Price Estimates for Water Quality Improvement: A Contingent Valuation Study for the Monongahela River,'' Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 14, 248–267.Google Scholar
  7. Dowlatabadi, H. and M. G. Morgan, (2000). ICAM: Integrated Assessment of Global Change, book manuscript in preparation.Google Scholar
  8. Earle, T. C. and G. T. Cvetkovich, (1995). Social Trust. Westport, CT: Praeger.Google Scholar
  9. Ekman, P. (1985). Telling Lies. New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  10. Ericsson, A. and H. Simon. (1994). Verbal Reports as Data, 2nd ed. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  11. Fischhoff, B. (1975). ''Hindsight /foresight: The Effect of Outcome Knowledge on Judgment under Uncertainty,'' Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 104, 288–299.Google Scholar
  12. Fischhoff, B. (1991). ''Value Elicitation: Is There Anything in There?'' American Psychologist 46, 835–847.Google Scholar
  13. Fischhoff, B. (1992). ''Giving Advice: Decision Theory Perspectives on Sexual Assault,'' American Psychologist, 47, 577–588.Google Scholar
  14. Fischhoff, B. (1996). ''The Real World: What Good Is It?'' Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 65, 232–248.Google Scholar
  15. Fischhoff, B. (1997). ''What Do Psychologists Want? Contingent Valuation as a Special Case of Asking Questions.'' In W. Pommerehne, N. Schwarz and R. Kopp eds., Determining the Value of Nonmarketed Goods, pp. 189–217. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  16. Fischhoff, B. in press. ''Why Cancer Risk Communication Can Be Hard,'' Journal of National Cancer Institute.Google Scholar
  17. Fischhoff, B., A. Bostrom, and M. J. Quadrel. (1997). ''Risk Perception and Communication.'' In R. Detels, J. McEwen, and G. Omenn eds., Oxford Textbook of Public Health, pp. 987–1002. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Fischhoff, B., J. Downs, and W. Bruine de Bruin. (1998). ''Adolescent Vulnerability: A Framework for Behavioral Interventions,'' Applied and Preventive Psychology 7, 77–94.Google Scholar
  19. Fischhoff, B. and L. Furby. (1986). ''A Review and Critique of Tolley, Randall et al. ''Establishing and Valuing the Effects of Improved Visibility in the Eastern United States,'' ERI Technical Report 86–8. Eugene, OR: Eugene Research Institute.Google Scholar
  20. Fischhoff, B. and L. Furby. (1988). ''Measuring Values: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Transactions,'' Journal of Risk and Uncertainty 1, 147–184.Google Scholar
  21. Fischhoff, B., M. J. Quadrel, M. Kamlet, G. Loewenstein, R. Dawes, P. Fischbeck, S. Klepper, J. Leland, and P. Stroh. (1993). ''Embedding Effects: Stimulus Representation and Response Modes,'' Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 6, 211–234.Google Scholar
  22. Fischhoff, B., P. Slovic, and S. Lichtenstein. (1980). ''Knowing What You Want: Measuring Labile Values.'' In T. Wallsten ed., Cognitive Processes in Choice and Decision Behavior, pp. 117–141. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  23. Frazier, L. and C. Charles. (1995). Construal. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  24. Furnham, A. (1989). Intuitive Theories. London: Plenum.Google Scholar
  25. Gardner, G. T. and P. Stern. (1996). Environmental Problems and Human Behavior. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  26. Gilovich, T., R. Vallone, and A. Tversky. (1985). ''The Hot Hand in Basketball: On the Misperception of Random Sequences,'' Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 17, 295–314.Google Scholar
  27. Gold, E. (1997). ''The Gambler's Fallacy,'' Ph.D. dissertation, Carnegie Mellon University.Google Scholar
  28. Gregory, R., S. Lichtenstein, and P. Slovic. (1993). ''Valuing Environmental Resources: A Constructive Approach,'' Journal of Risk and Uncertainty 7, 177–197.Google Scholar
  29. Grice, H. P. (1975). ''Logic and Conversation.'' In D. Davidson and G. Harman eds., The Logic of Grammar. Encino, CA: Dickenson.Google Scholar
  30. Hasher, L. and R. T. Zacks. (1984). ''Automatic and Effortful Processes in Memory,'' Journal of Experiment Psychology: General 108, 356–388.Google Scholar
  31. Hilton, D. J. (1990). ''Conversational Processes and Causal Explanation,'' Psychological Bulletin 107, 65–81.Google Scholar
  32. Howard, R. A. (1989). ''Knowledge Maps,'' Management Science 35, 903–922Google Scholar
  33. Keeney, R. K. (1992). Value-Focused Thinking. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Linville, P. W., G. W. Fischer, and B. Fischhoff. (1993). ''AIDS Risk Perceptions and Decision Biases.'' In J. B. Pryor and G. D. Reeder eds., The Social Psychology of HIV Infection, pp. 5–38. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  35. Lopes, L. (1982). ''Doing the Impossible,'' Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition 8, 626–663.Google Scholar
  36. McGuire, W. (1969). ''Suspiciousness of Experimenter's Intent,'' In R. Rosenthal and R. L. Rosnow eds., Artifact in Behavioral Research. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  37. Mitchell, R. C. and R. T. Carson. (1989). Using Surveys to Value Public Goods: The Contingent Valuation Method. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future.Google Scholar
  38. Morgan, M. G. (1995). ''Climate Change: A Citizens Guide,'' Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University.Google Scholar
  39. Morgan, M. G., B. Fischhoff, A. Bostrom, L. Lave, and C. J. Atman. (1992). ''Communicating Risk to the Public,'' Environmental Science and Technology 26, 2048–2056.Google Scholar
  40. National Research Council. (1982). Survey Measure of Subjective Phenomena. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  41. National Research Council. (1996). Understanding Risk. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  42. Nisbett, R. E. and T. D. Wilson. (1977). ''Telling More Than We Know: Verbal Reports on Mental Processes,'' Psychological Review 84, 231–259.Google Scholar
  43. Payne, J. W., J. R. Bettman, and D. A. Schkade. (1999). ''Measuring Constructed Preferences: Towards a Building Code,'' Journal of Risk and Uncertainty 19, 243–270.Google Scholar
  44. Peterson, C. R. and L. R. Beach. (1967). ''Man as an Intuitive Statistician,'' Psychological Bulletin 69(1), 29–46.Google Scholar
  45. Poulton, E. C. (1989). Bias in Quantifying Judgment. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  46. Read, D., A. Bostrom, M. G. Morgan, B. Fischhoff, and T. Smuts. (1994). ''What Do People Know about Global Climate Change? Part 2. Survey Studies of Educated Laypeople,'' Risk Analysis, 14, 971–982.Google Scholar
  47. Rosenthal, R. and R. L. Rosnow. eds. (1969). Artifact in Behavioral Research. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  48. Schkade, D. A. and J. W. Payne. (1993). ''Where Do the Numbers Come From? How People Respond to Contingent Valuation Questions.'' In J. A. Hausman ed., Contingent Valuation: A Critical Assessment, pp. 271–293. Boston: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  49. Schkade, D. A. and J. W. Payne. (1994). ''How People Respond to Contingent Valuation Questions: A Verbal Protocol Analysis of Willingness to Pay for an Environmental Regulation,'' Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 26, 88–109.Google Scholar
  50. Schriver, K. A. (1989). ''Evaluating Text Quality: The Continuum from Text-Focused to Reader-Focused Methods,'' IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication 32, 238–255.Google Scholar
  51. Schwarz, N. (1997). Context Effects in Survey Research. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  52. Schwarz, N. (1999). ''Self-Reports: How the Questions Shape the Answers,'' American Psychologist, 54, 93–105.Google Scholar
  53. Shaklee, H. and B. Fischhoff. (1990). ''The Psychology of Contraceptive Surprises: Judging the Cumulative Risk of Contraceptive Failure,'' Journal of Applied Psychology 20, 385–403.Google Scholar
  54. Slovic, P. and S. Lichtenstein, (1971). ''Comparison of Bayesian and Regression Approaches to the Study of Information Processing in Judgment,'' Organizational Behavior and Human Performance,6, 649–744.Google Scholar
  55. Stokols, D., and I. Altman, eds. (1987). Handbook of Environmental Psychology, 2 Vols. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  56. Tolley, G., A. Randall, et al. (1986). ''Establishing and Valuing the Effects of Improved Visibility in the Eastern United States,'' Report to the Environmental Protection Agency.Google Scholar
  57. Tune, G. S. (((1967))4). ''Response Preferences: A Review of Some Relevant Literature,'' Psychological Bulletin, 61, 286–302.Google Scholar
  58. Tversky, A., and D. Kahneman, (1974). ''Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases,'' Science 185, 453–458.Google Scholar
  59. Welch, N. and B. Fischhoff, (1999). ''Social Context and Environmental Valuations,'' Manuscript under editorial review.Google Scholar
  60. Wilcox, R. R. (1998). ''How Many Scientific Discoveries Have Been Lost by Ignoring Modern Statistical Methods?'' American Psychologist, 53, 300–314.Google Scholar
  61. Wilson, T. D., D. J. Lisle, J. W. Schooler, S. D. Hodges, K. J. Klaaren, and S. J. LaFleur. (1993). ''Introspecting About Reasons Can Reduce Post-Choice Satisfaction,'' Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 19, 331–339.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Baruch Fischhoff
    • 1
  • Ned Welch
    • 1
  • Shane Frederick
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social and Decision SciencesCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburgh

Personalised recommendations