A previously unobserved pattern of choice behavior is predicted and corroborated. In line with the principle of compatibility, according to which the weighting of inputs is enhanced by their compatibility with output, the positive and negative dimensions of options (their pros and cons) are expected to loom larger when one is choosing and when one is rejecting, respectively. Subjects are presented with pairs of options, one of which—theenriched option—has more positive as well as more negative dimensions than does the other,impoverished, option. Because positive dimensions are weighted more heavily in choosing than in rejecting, and negative dimensions are weighted more heavily in rejecting than in choosing, the enriched option tends to be chosen and rejected relatively more often than the impoverished option. These findings are extended to nonbinary decision problems, and their implications for the rational theory of choice and for everyday decisions are discussed.
Bell, D. E. (1982). Regret in decision making under uncertainty.Operations Research,30, 961–981.
Beyth-Marom, R., Austin, L., Fischhoff, B., Palmgren, C., & Jacobs-Quadrel, M. (in press). Perceived consequences of risky behaviors: Adults and adolescents.Developmental Psychology.
Brainard, R. W., Irby, T. S., Fitts, P. M., &Alluisi, E. (1962). Some variables influencing the rate of gain of information.Journal of Experimental Psychology,63, 105–110.
Bursztajn, H., Chanowitz, B., Kaplan, E., Gutheil, T. G., Hamm, R. M., &Alexander, V. (1991). Medical and judicial perceptions of the risks associated with use of antipsychotic medication.Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychology & the Law,19, 271–275.
Coombs, C. H., Donnell, M. L., &Kirk, D. B. (1978). An experimental study of risk preference in lotteries.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,4, 497–512.
Dunning, D., &Parpal, M. (1989). Mental addition versus subtraction in counterfactual reasoning: On assessing the impact of personal actions and life events.Journal of Personality & Social Psychology,57, 5–15.
Firrs, P. M., &Seeger, C. M. (1953). S-R compatibility: Spatial characteristics of stimulus and response codes.Journal of Experimental Psychology,46, 199–210.
Goldstein, W. M. (1990). Judgments of relative importance in decision making: Global vs local interpretations of subjective weight.Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes,47, 313–336.
Houston, D. A., Sherman, S. J., &Baker, S. M. (1989). The influence of unique features and direction of comparison on preferences.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,25, 121–141.
Huber, V. L., Neale, M. A., &Northcraft, G. B. (1987). Decision bias and personnel selection strategies.Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes,40, 136–147.
Kahneman, D., &Snell, J. (1990). Predicting utility. In R. M. Hogarth (Ed.),Insights in decision making: A tribute to Hillel Einhom (pp. 295–310). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Kornblum, S., Hasbroucq, T., &Osman, A. (1990). Dimensional overlap: Cognitive basis for stimulus-response compatibility—a model and taxonomy.Psychological Review,97, 253–270.
Lichtenstein, S., &Slovic, P. (1973). Response-induced reversals of preference in gambling: An extended replication in Las Vegas.Journal of Experimental Psychology,101, 16–20.
Loomes, G., &Sugden, R. (1982). Regret theory: An alternative theory of rational choice under uncertainty.Economic Journal,92, 805–824.
Luce, R. D. (1959).Individual choice behavior. New York: Wiley.
Luce, R. D., &Suppes, P. (1965). Preference, utility, and subjective probability. In R. D. Luce, R. R. Bush, & E. Galanter (Eds.),Handbook of mathematical psychology (pp. 249–410). New York: Wiley.
March, J. (1978). Bounded rationality, ambiguity, and the engineering of choice.Bell Journal of Economics,9, 587–608.
Marley, A. A. J. (1968). Some probabilistic models of simple choice and ranking.Journal of Mathematical Psychology,5, 311–332.
McNeil, B. J., Pauker, S. G., &Tversky, A. (1988). On the framing of medical decisions. In D. Bell, H. Raiffa, & A. Tversky (Eds.),Decision making: Descriptive, normative, and prescriptive interactions (pp. 562–568). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Medin, D. L., Goldstone, R. L., &Gentner, D. (1990). Similarity involving attributes and relations: Judgments of similarity and difference are not inverses.Psychological Science,1, 64–69.
Mueller, D. C. (1989).Public choice II. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Payne, J. W. (1982). Contingent decision behavior.Psychological Bulletin,92, 382–402.
Proctor, R. W., &Reeve, T. G. (Eds.) (1990).Stimulus-response compatibility: An integrated perspective. Amsterdam: North-Holland.
Schkade, D. A., &Johnson, E. J. (1989). Cognitive processes in preference reversals.Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes,44, 203–231.
Shafir, E., Simonson, I., & Tversky, A. (in press). Reason-based choice.Cognition.
Simonson, I. (1989). Choice based on reasons: The case of attraction and compromise effects.Journal of Consumer Research,16, 158–174.
Slovic, P. (1990). Choice. In D. Osherson & E. Smith (Eds.),An invitation to cognitive science: Vol. 3 (pp. 89–116). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Slovic, P., Fischhoff, B., &Lichtenstein, S. (1982). Response mode, framing, and information-processing effects in risk assessment. In R. Hogarth (Ed.),New directions for methodology of social and behavioral science: Question framing and response consistency (pp. 21–36). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Slovic, P., Griffin, D., &Tversky, A. (1990). Compatibility effects in judgment and choice. In R. Hogarth (Ed.),Insights in decision making: Theory and applications (pp. 5–27). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Slovic, P., &Lichtenstein, S. (1983). Preference reversals: A broader perspective.American Economic Review,73, 596–605.
Tversky, A. (1972). Elimination by aspects: A theory of choice.Psychological Review,79, 281–299.
Tversky, A. (1977). Features of similarity.Psychological Review,84, 327–352.
Tversky, A., &Gati, I. (1978). Studies of similarity. In E. Rosch & B. Lloyd (Eds.),Cognition and categorization (pp. 79–98). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Tversky, A., &Kahneman, D. (1986). Rational choice and the framing of decisions.Journal of Business,59, 251–278.
Tversky, A., &Kahneman, D. (1991). Loss aversion in riskless choice: A reference dependent model.Quarterly Journal of Economics,107, 1039–1061.
Tversky, A., Sattath, S., &Slovic, P. (1988). Contingent weighting in judgment and choice.Psychological Review,95, 371–384.
Tversky, A., &Shafir, E. (1992). The disjunction effect in choice under uncertainty.Psychological Science,3, 305–309.
Tversky, A., Slovic, P., &Kahneman, D. (1990). The causes of preference reversal.American Economic Review,80, 204–217.
Viscusi, W. K., Magat, W. A., &Huber, J. (1987). An investigation of the rationality of consumer valuations of multiple health risks.Rand Journal of Economics,18, 465–479.
Von Neumann, J., &Morgenstern, O. (1947).Theory of games and economic behavior. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Wickens, C. D. (1984).Engineering psychology and human performance. Columbus, OH: Merrill.
This research was supported by US Public Health Service Grant I-R29-MH46885 from the National Institute of Mental Health. The paper has benefiCed from the comments of Philip Johnson-L.aird, Dale Miller, Dan Osherson, Amy Pierce, Robert Proctor, Edward Smith. Amos Tversky, and three anonymous reviewers.
About this article
Cite this article
Shafir, E. Choosing versus rejecting: Why some options are both better and worse than others. Memory & Cognition 21, 546–556 (1993). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03197186
- Compatibility Effect
- Loss Aversion
- Negative Feature
- Negative Dimension
- Anticipate Regret