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## Joint evaluation versus single evaluation: A field full of potentials

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Abstract

Evaluation mode is an important yet under-studied aspect of decision-making. All decisions are made in one of two evaluation modes or some mix of the two. One is joint evaluation (JE), in which different options are presented together and evaluated simultaneously. The other is single evaluation (SE), in which different options are presented separately, and each option is evaluated in isolation.

This article reviews existing literature on how JE and SE can lead to reversed preferences, with one option favored in JE and another option favored in SE, in domains including hiring, consumer choice, moral judgments and healthcare decisions. For example, in JE, a plain-looking but experienced job candidate would be favored over a good-looking but less-experienced job candidate, but in SE, the good-looking but less experienced candidate would be favored. We also review existing research on the “less is better” phenomenon-that in SE (but not in JE), a normatively less valuable option is judged more favorably than its more valuable alternative. For example, in SE (but not in JE), 7 oz. of ice cream served in a 5-oz. cup is valued more favorably than 8 oz. of ice cream served in a 10-oz. cup.

To interpret JE/SE preference reversals and the less-is-better effect, several explanations have been proposed, such as a want/should conflict, a within-category versus between-category comparison, the option as information model, and the dual-process model. The present review focuses on the general evaluability theory (GET), which ascribes JE/SE preference reversals and the less-is-better effect to attribute evaluability. According to GET, the evaluability of an attribute depends conjunctively on three factors: evaluation mode (JE versus SE), knowledge of the decision-maker about the attribute, and the inherent/learned nature of the attribute. Not only can GET explain JE/SE preference reversals and the less-is-better effect, it also explains many other effects, such as scope neglect, differences in risk preference between JE and SE, differences in time preference between JE and SE, misprediction of future hedonic experiences, and so on.

Understanding JE-SE differences and attribute evaluability also offers insight into how to improve decisions in contexts such as fundraising, pricing strategy, public service, and subjective well-being. |||The review suggests that evaluation mode (JE versus SE) is an important independent variable that influences a wide range of decisions in counterintuitive ways and thereby provides opportunities to design choice-architecture-based nudges to improve decisions. Yet despite its importance, evaluation mode has not been well-studied and therefore is a fertile ground for researchers to explore and develop.

Keywords： evaluation mode ; preference reversal ; general evaluability theory ; dual-process model ; nudge

LU Xi, Christopher K. Joint evaluation versus single evaluation: A field full of potentials[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2018, 50(8): 827-839 doi:10.3724/SP.J.1041.2018.00827

### 1.2 单独评估中违反占优性原则的现象

Hsee (1998)通过冰激凌实验演示了该现象。他请实验参与者想象自己在湖畔休息时想吃冰淇淋。单独评估时, 参与者随机分配到以下两种情形之一(如图1所示)：摊位H出售8盎司冰激凌, 装在容量10盎司的纸杯里; 摊位L出售7盎司冰激凌, 装在容量5盎司的纸杯里; 联合评估时, 参与者同时看到了两种情况。结果发现：联合评估时, 人们对8盎司冰激凌给出了更高的价格; 但是在单独评估时, 人们的支付意愿违背了占优性原则, 人们对溢出纸杯的7盎司冰激凌出价更高, 虽然8盎司冰激凌才是占优选项。

### 图1

(资料来源: Hsee, 1998)

(例：完成300次手术)

(例：毕业于爱荷华大学)

(例：完成80次手术)

(例：毕业于哈佛大学)

### 图2

2.2.1 评估模式和选项属性(天性)的交互

2.2.2 评估模式和选项属性(知识)的交互

### 2.3 其他解释

Bazerman等(1992)提出了 “想要和应要冲突” (want-should conflict)的解释, 他们认为, 在单独评估时个体更多考虑到“想要” (want)的因素, 但是联合评估时个体更多思考“应要” (should)的因素。例如：Okada (2005)发现, 面对享乐选项(50元餐厅代金券)和实用选项(50元超市食品代金券)的取舍, 在单独评估时, 人们更喜爱享乐选项, 在联合评估时, 人们更喜欢实用选项。类似的, Shaffer和Arkes (2009)发现, 人们在联合评估中更喜欢现金报酬, 但是在单独评估时, 非现金报酬(特别是享乐品而非实用品)更受人喜欢。这类现象可以用想要和应要的冲突来解释。单独评估时, 享乐选项激发了更多想要的渴望, 而联合评估时, 如果要选择享乐选项, 人们会考虑应要的因素, 比如是否存在合理的理由。不过, 这类现象也可以用可评估性解释, 相比于实用性, 享乐属性的内在可评估性较高, 因此在单独评估时影响更大。

Kahneman和Ritov (1994)提出了组内比较和组外比较的差异。他们探讨了“救助海豚项目”和“预防皮肤癌项目”偏好反转的原因, 指出：在单独评估时, 人们更多进行组内比较, 海豚组把海豚救援和其他动物救援比较, 海豚属于动物中人们更愿意救助的; 防晒组把增加防晒措施来预防皮肤癌项目和其他人类救援比较, 这一项目属于人类救援中比较不重要的。联合评估时, 人们更多进行了组外比较, 显然救助人类比救助动物更重要。其实组内组外比较的核心机制和可评估性一样, 都是参照信息。用广义可评估性理论来解释, 单独评估时, 救海豚和救人两个项目内在的参照系统是不同的; 但是联合评估时, 当前的参照选项就成为更凸显的参照点, 参照点的变化引起了偏好改变。

### 图3

(修改自: Hsee & Zhang, 2010)

### 3.5 商业定价

Shen, Hsee, Wu和Tsai (2012)提出, 定价者一般处于联合评估模式, 会考虑到多种参考产品的价格来确定产品定价, 但是购买者往往只看到这个产品的价格, 处于单独评估模式。当购买者对其他参考产品的价格有所了解时, 一般不存在定价偏差的问题, 因为定价者和购买者都处于联合评估模式。但是, 当某种产品比较独特或者陌生时, 就有可能存在定价偏差——定价者处于联合评估模式, 购买者处于单独评估模式, 定价者很可能高估购买者的价格敏感性, 定价偏低, 未能实现利润最大化的目标。

MBA学生进行一个定价购买游戏。对定价者而言, 他们要为一个业余摄影家的艺术照片定价, 以获得最高利润。为简化任务, 研究者免费给他们提供照片, 照片成本为零; 其次, 他们有50份照片, 将要以同样的价格出售给50名和他们类似的MBA, 50位购买者每人单独决定自己是否购买1张; 未售出的照片将作废, 价值为零。定价者被随机分为控制组、单独评估组、联合评估组。结果发现：单独评估组的定价者制定的价格(中位数50元)要显著高于联合评估组和控制组(这两组中位数都是20元)。根据定价者的定价结果, 研究者设置了高价组(每张照片50元)和低价组(每张照片20元), 购买者被随机分配到其中一种情况, 决定自己是否购买一张艺术照片。结果发现：对于购买者而言, 高价还是低价并没有影响购买者的比例。综合而言, 单独评估的定价者制定的价格才是利润最大化的价格。

### 图4

(资料来源: Hsee et al, 2009)

Tu和Hsee (2016)还提出内在可评估性高的因素也更少受到享乐适应的影响。内在可评估性低的因素提升后, 过一段时间, 我们就产生了享乐适应, 这种变化就不再影响我们的幸福感了。例如：从1克拉的钻石换成2克拉的, 几个月后, 当初的幸福感就消退了, 因为变化后时间越久, 个体的评估模式越接近单独评估, 没有1克拉的鲜明比较, 2克拉钻石的可评估性降低了。但是, 内在可评估性高的因素却不会如此, 例如：室内温度、洗澡水温度等方面的变化, 即使没有了过去的寒冷作为对照, 我们也仍然对温度是否舒适非常敏感。因此, 在提升幸福感的决策中, 更为智慧的做法是去提升那些内在可感知的因素, 例如添置暖风空调、品尝美味食物等比购买珠宝能带来更加长久的幸福感。

## 参考文献 原文顺序 文献年度倒序 文中引用次数倒序 被引期刊影响因子

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People typically choose pleasure over pain. But how do they know which of these their choices will entail? The brain generates mental simulations (previews) of future events, which produce affective reactions (premotions), which are then used as a basis for forecasts (predictions) about the future event's emotional consequences. Research shows that this process leads to systematic errors of prediction. We review evidence indicating that these errors can be traced to five sources.

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Two core meanings of “utility” are distinguished. “Decision utility” is the weight of an outcome in a decision. “Experienced utility” is hedonic quality, as in Bentham’s usage. Experienced utility can be reported in real time (instant utility), or in retrospective evaluations of past episodes (remembered utility). Psychological research has documented systematic errors in retrospective evaluations, which can induce a preference for dominated options. We propose a formal normative theory of the total experienced utility of temporally extended outcomes. Measuring the experienced utility of outcomes permits tests of utility maximization and opens other lines of empirical research.

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People’s greater willingness to help identified victims, relative to non-identified ones, was examined by eliciting real contributions to targets varying in singularity (a single individual vs. a group of several individuals), and the availability of individually identifying information (the main difference being the inclusion of a picture in the “identified” versions). Results of the first and second experiments support the proposal that for identified victims, contributions for a single victim exceed contributions for a group when these are judged separately, but preference reverses when one has to choose between contributing to the single individual and contributing to the group. In a third experiment, ratings of emotional response were elicited in addition to willingness to contribute judgments. Results suggest that the greater contribution to a single victim relative to the group stems from intensified emotions evoked by a single identified victim rather than from emotions evoked by identified victims in general.

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No abstract is available for this item.

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People want to have fun, and they are more likely to have fun if the situation allows them to justify it. This research studies how people's need for justifying hedonic consumption drives two choice patterns that are observed in typical purchase contexts. First, relative preferences between hedonic and utilitarian alternatives can reverse, depending on how the immediate purchase situation presents itself. A hedonic alternative tends to be rated more highly than a comparable utilitarian alternative when each is presented singly, but the utilitarian alternative tends to be chosen over the hedonic alternative when the two are presented jointly. Second, people have preferences for expending different combinations of time (effort) and money for acquiring hedonic versus utilitarian items. They are willing to pay more in time for hedonic goods and more in money for utilitarian goods. The author explores the topic through a combination of four experiments and field studies.

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Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes,109( 2), 134-141.

When powerful people cause harm, they often do so indirectly through other people. Are harmful actions carried out through others evaluated less negatively than harmful actions carried out directly? Four experiments examine the moral psychology of indirect agency. Experiments 1A, 1B, and 1C reveal effects of indirect agency under conditions favoring intuitive judgment, but not reflective judgment, using a joint/separate evaluation paradigm. Experiment 2A demonstrates that effects of indirect agency cannot be fully explained by perceived lack of foreknowledge or control on the part of the primary agent. Experiment 2B indicates that reflective moral judgment is sensitive to indirect agency, but only to the extent that indirectness signals reduced foreknowledge and/or control. Experiment 3 indicates that effects of indirect agency result from a failure to automatically consider the potentially dubious motives of agents who cause harm indirectly. Experiment 4 demonstrates an effect of indirect agency on purchase intentions.

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Preference reversals in evaluations of cash versus non-cash incentives

Journal of Economic Psychology,30( 6), 859-872.

Data are presented from six experiments that demonstrate preference reversals for cash versus non-cash incentives. When given a hypothetical choice between cash and non-cash incentives, participants chose the cash incentive (joint evaluation, JE). However when asked to evaluate them separately (separate evaluation, SE), participants gave higher ratings to the non-cash incentive; these findings were replicated with “real” monetary incentives. Preference reversals were partially dictated by the type of non-cash incentive offered: they were observed for hedonic non-cash incentives but not for utilitarian non-cash incentives. Preference reversals were caused by two factors: a shift in the dominant attribute under consideration and the presence of a value-seeking attribute that provides information about the rational choice. Specifically, participants consider the affective characteristics of the incentives during SE and the fungibility of the incentives during JE. Additionally, employees receiving rewards from an incentive program reported that recipients of non-cash awards would enjoy their reward more and would be more likely to tell their friends about it.

Shen L. X., Hsee C. K., Wu Q. S., & Tsai C. I . ( 2012).

Overpredicting and underprofiting in pricing decisions: Evaluability in pricing decisions

Journal of Behavioral Decision Making,25( 5), 512-521.

This research examines sellers' price-setting behavior and discovers a naturally occurring mismatch between sellers and buyers: Sellers who make a price decision often consider alternative prices and engage in the joint evaluation mode, whereas buyers who make a purchase decision see only the finally set price and are in the single evaluation mode. This mismatch in evaluation modes leads sellers to overpredict buyers' price sensitivity and underprice their products. However, these effects apply only to products unfamiliar to buyers and without salient reference prices and can be alleviated if sellers are encouraged to mimic single evaluation when making pricing decisions. These propositions are empirically tested and verified. Copyright 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Sher S, & McKenzie, C. R. M . ( 2014).

Options as information: Rational reversals of evaluation and preference

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General,143( 3), 1127-1143.

URL     PMID:24364684

Abstract This article develops a rational analysis of an important class of apparent preference reversals-joint-separate reversals traditionally explained by the evaluability hypothesis. The "options-as-information" model considers a hypothetical rational actor with limited knowledge about the market distribution of a stimulus attribute. The actor's evaluations are formed via a 2-stage process-an inferential stage in which beliefs are updated on the basis of the sample of options received, followed by an assessment stage in which options are evaluated in light of these updated beliefs. This process generates joint-separate reversals in standard experimental designs. The normative model explains why the evaluability hypothesis works when it does, identifies boundary conditions for the hypothesis, and clarifies some common misconceptions about these effects. In particular, it implies that joint-separate reversals are not irrational; in fact, they are not preference reversals. However, in expanded designs where more than 2 options are jointly evaluated, the model predicts that genuine (and rational) preference reversals will sometimes emerge. Results of 3 experiments suggest an excellent fit between the rational actor model and the judgments of human actors in joint-separate experiments. PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved.

Tu, Y. P., & Hsee, C. K . ( 2016).

Consumer happiness derived from inherent preferences versus learned preferences

Current Opinion in Psychology,10, 83-88.

We distinguish between two types of preferences. One is inherent (e.g., preference for warm over cold temperature); it is formed early in evolution and largely stable. The other is learned (e.g., preference for large over small diamonds); it is acquired more recently, and variable across time and contexts. We propose that compared with inherent preferences, learned preferences 1) rely more on social comparison, resulting in a relative (rather than absolute) effect on happiness, and 2) are more prone to hedonic adaptation, resulting in a transient (rather than durable) effect on happiness. In addition, we propose that preferences about resource-related attributes (e.g., size of home) are inherent in low-value regions, and learned in high-value regions. We discuss implications of this analysis for improving consumer subjective well-being.

von Neumann J., & Morgenstern O. (1944).

Theory of games and economic behavior (60th Anniversary Commemorative Edition)

Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Yang A. X., Hsee C. K., Liu Y., & Zhang L . ( 2011).

The supremacy of singular subjectivity: Improving decision quality by removing objective specifications and direct comparisons

Journal of Consumer Psychology,21( 4), 393-404.

Zhang J. ( 2015).

Joint versus separate modes of evaluation. In G. Keren & G. Wu (Eds.), The wiley blackwell handbook of judgment and decision making (pp. 211-238). Portsmouth: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

Zikmund-Fisher B. J., Fagerlin A., & Ubel P. A . ( 2004).

“Is 28% good or bad?” Evaluability and preference reversals in health care decisions

Medical Decision Making,24( 2), 142-148.