ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2014, Vol. 46 ›› Issue (10): 1549-1563.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.01549

• 论文 • 上一篇    下一篇



  1. (1天津职业技术师范大学心理系, 天津 300222) (2中国民航大学安全科学与工程学院, 天津 300300) (3山东师范大学心理学院, 济南 250038) (4中国科学院心理研究所行为科学重点实验室, 北京 100101)
  • 收稿日期:2013-11-06 发布日期:2014-10-25 出版日期:2014-10-25
  • 通讯作者: 李纾, E-mail:
  • 基金资助:

    国家自然科学基金项目(70871110; 31200793)、中国科学院知识创新工程重要方向项目(KSCX2-EW-J-8)、教育部人文社会科学研究青年基金项目(13YJC190022)、北京市优秀博士学位论文指导教师人文社科项目(20138012501)、天津市高等学校人文社会科学研究项目(20122503)。

Suffering a Loss is a Blessing: Is It Real Gold or Fool’s Gold?

TANG Hui1,4; ZHOU Kun2; ZHAO Cui-Xia3; LI Shu4   

  1. (1 Department of Psychology, Tianjin University of Technology and Education, Tianjin 300222, China) (2 College of Safety Science and Engineering, Civil Aviation University of China, Tianjin 300300, China) (3 School of Psychology, Shandong Normal University, Jinan 250038, China) (4 Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China)
  • Received:2013-11-06 Online:2014-10-25 Published:2014-10-25
  • Contact: LI Shu, E-mail:


主流决策理论认为人们当遵从个人利益最大化原则, 基于“价” (value)做选择—— 挑选能直接给自己带来最大获益的选项。但决策者实际上经常会基于“值” (worth)做选择—— 挑选令自己当下吃亏或损失的选项, 并认为“值得”。为探索选择吃亏的选项究竟“值”在何处, 研究1利用情境实验操纵“基于‘值’选择”, 发现选择表面吃亏的“值”选项反而能给个体带来更大的延迟获益。研究2a采用归纳法, 确定了吃亏选项会在“惠、善、义、法” 4个潜在维度上被决策者赋予更大的“值”; 研究2b利用测量4个潜在维度的情境测验, 以销售群体的销售绩效和主观幸福感为真实获益的衡量指标, 验证了“基于‘值’选择”与现实生活中的物质和精神获益间存在正向的线性预测关系。研究首次为中国文化中的“吃亏是福”提供了实证证据的支持, 揭示诱使人们选择吃亏选项的是“后福”—— 赋在潜在维度上的延迟获益。

关键词: 吃亏, 基于“值”选择, 基于“价”选择, 最大化原则


In classical decision theory, choices are guided by the principle of value maximization, such that when offered a set of attributes or dimensions, a decision maker chooses the option with the highest value (value-based choice). In real life, however, people often choose options that will make them suffer a loss. To explain this behavior, Tang (2012) and Zheng (2012) proposed and demonstrated a so-called “worth-based choice” model, in which the decision maker chooses the option with the highest “worth” rather than the highest “value”. To explore what gives an option its worth, and to study the rationale underlying such a choice, we conducted two substudies, as described below. In Study 1, we created two scenarios — one in which a decision maker makes a “value-based choice” and the other in which a decision maker makes a “worth-based choice.” We recruited 134 subjects and assessed their responses to the two decision makers’ choices as a means of comparing the latent benefits associated with each type of choice. We found that decision makers who had suffered an offered loss when applying the “worth-based choice” would gain more in the long term by securing the good opinions of others. In contrast, decision makers who had maximized their immediate benefits by making a “value-based choice” would be subject to revenge or punishment later. These findings suggest that it is potential or deferred benefit that may lead people to make “worth-based choices”. Study 2 consisted of two substudies. The first study explored the underlying dimensions constantly considered by decision makers when assessing each option’s worth to make a “worth-based choice” (Study 2a). The second study examined the linear correlation between “worth-based choice” and real benefit (Study 2b) in a real-world setting. In Study 2a, a random sample of undergraduates and employees (N = 72) was surveyed to collect typical cases of “worth-based choices.” Exploratory factor analysis was then conducted with a random sample of 224 undergraduates and employees (aged between 18 and 60), and four factors (i.e., 惠(favor), 善(virtuous), 义(righteousness) and 法(law)) underlying “worth-based choice” were extracted. The four-factor construct was further proved to be reliable and valid by the results of a confirmatory factor analysis. In Study 2b, we used a sample of 178 salespersons in the real estate and pharmaceutical industries to compare the latent benefits generated by “value-based choice” and “worth-based choice”. The results confirmed our hypothesis that individuals who made a “worth-based choice” would gain more benefit later. We concluded that, in the “worth-based choice” model, though an individual may suffer an offered loss in the short term, he might gain more benefit in the long term. In the process, we managed to explain, for the first time, the philosophy reflected in a Chinese proverb, “chi kui shi fu” (suffering a loss is a blessing). The implications of the present study are also discussed.

Key words: suffering a loss, worth-based choice, value-based choice, value maximization