Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Losses loom more likely than gains: Propensity to imagine losses increases their subjective probability

Contents:

Author Info

  • Bilgin, Baler
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Losses loom larger than gains. The typical interpretation of loss aversion involves a subjective value-based asymmetry between gains and losses, with individuals expecting losses to be more painful than gains of equal size to be pleasurable. This paper reveals a novel, subjective probability-based asymmetry between gains and losses that may contribute to loss aversion in risky choice. Results from five experiments suggest that losses may loom not only larger, but also more likely than gains. The propensity of losses to attract attention and to be subsequently imagined appears to underlie the proposed asymmetry. The effect translates into changes in predicted behavior, with subjective probability mediating the impact of imagination on the predicted likelihood to accept to play an equal-probability gamble. The implications of our findings for loss aversion, the negativity bias, and the imagination literature are discussed.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749597812000441
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

    Volume (Year): 118 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 203-215

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:118:y:2012:i:2:p:203-215

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/obhdp

    Related research

    Keywords: Loss aversion; Subjective probability; Asymmetry; Attention; Imagination; Negativity bias;

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Keith M. Marzilli Ericson & Andreas Fuster, 2011. "Expectations as Endowments: Evidence on Reference-Dependent Preferences from Exchange and Valuation Experiments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1879-1907.
    2. Strahilevitz, Michal A & Loewenstein, George, 1998. " The Effect of Ownership History on the Valuation of Objects," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(3), pages 276-89, December.
    3. Johnson, Eric J. & G├Ąchter, Simon & Herrmann, Andreas, 2006. "Exploring the Nature of Loss Aversion," IZA Discussion Papers 2015, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
    5. Matthew Rabin, 2006. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1133-1165, November.
    6. Harless, David W & Camerer, Colin F, 1994. "The Predictive Utility of Generalized Expected Utility Theories," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1251-89, November.
    7. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. " Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
    8. Knetsch, Jack L. & Wong, Wei-Kang, 2009. "The endowment effect and the reference state: Evidence and manipulations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 407-413, August.
    9. Carmon, Ziv & Ariely, Dan, 2000. " Focusing on the Forgone: How Value Can Appear So Different to Buyers and Sellers," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 360-70, December.
    10. Nathalie Etchart-Vincent, 2004. "Is Probability Weighting Sensitive to the Magnitude of Consequences? An Experimental Investigation on Losses," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 217-235, 05.
    11. Lyle Brenner & Yuval Rottenstreich & Sanjay Sood & Baler Bilgin, 2007. "On the Psychology of Loss Aversion: Possession, Valence, and Reversals of the Endowment Effect," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(3), pages 369-376, 05.
    12. Mohammed Abdellaoui, 2000. "Parameter-Free Elicitation of Utility and Probability Weighting Functions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(11), pages 1497-1512, November.
    13. Shiv, Baba & Huber, Joel, 2000. " The Impact of Anticipating Satisfaction on Consumer Choice," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 202-16, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:118:y:2012:i:2:p:203-215. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.