Structure compatibility and restructuring in judgment and choice

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The use of different response modes has been found to influence how subjects evaluate pairs of alternatives described by two attributes. It has been suggested that judgments and choices evoke different kinds of cognitive processes, leading to an overweighing of the prominent attribute in choice (Tversky, Sattath, & Slovic, 1988; Fischer & Hawkins, 1993). Four experiments were conducted to compare alternative cognitive explanations of this so-called prominence effect in judgment and choice. The explanations investigated were the structure compatibility hypothesis and the restructuring hypothesis. According to the structure compatibility hypothesis, it was assumed that the prominence effect is due to a lack of compatibility between the required output from subjects and the structure of information in input. The restructuring hypothesis stated that the decision maker uses mental restructuring operations on a representation of decision options to make the options more clearly differentiated. In Experiment 1, a matching procedure was used to provide pairs of equally attractive options (medical treatments) for the following experiments. In Experiments 2, 3, and 4, preferences were elicited with two different response modes, choice and preference rating. Value ranges on the prominent and nonprominent attributes were manipulated to test the structure compatibility hypothesis. Accountability was also subject to manipulation as it was assumed to stimulate restructuring. Since the prominence effect was not restricted to choices, and effects of value ranges were obtained but not of accountability, the results were interpreted in line with the structure compatibility hypothesis.
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Archival date: 2016-10-25
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