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Similarity Judgments in Choice Under Uncertainty: A Reinterpretation of the Predictions of Regret Theory

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  • Jonathan W. Leland

    (National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Room 995, Arlington, Virginia 22230)

Abstract

The Regret theory of Loomes and Sugden (1982) predicts choice anomalies implied by other alternatives to expected utility (e.g., violations of the independence axiom). It also makes unique and controversial predictions regarding the rational violation of stochastic dominance and invariance. All these predictions depend critically on assumptions regarding the statistical independence or dependence of the available alternatives. None of the predictions depend on the framing or representation of the alternatives. Leland (1994) shows that a model of choice based on similarity judgments predicts choices implied by Regret theory. In contrast to Regret theory, however, these predictions depend critically on the way the choices are framed and not on the dependence or independence of the alternatives. This paper presents experimental results indicating that the frequencies with which violations of independence, dominance, and invariance occur are, in most cases, insensitive to the statistical dependence or independence of the alternatives but sensitive to the way the choices are presented. These findings support the hypothesis that such behaviors arise as a consequence of reliance upon similarity judgments.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan W. Leland, 1998. "Similarity Judgments in Choice Under Uncertainty: A Reinterpretation of the Predictions of Regret Theory," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(5), pages 659-672, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:44:y:1998:i:5:p:659-672
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.44.5.659
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mark McCord & Richard de Neufville, 1986. ""Lottery Equivalents": Reduction of the Certainty Effect Problem in Utility Assessment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(1), pages 56-60, January.
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    5. Leland, Jonathan W, 1994. "Generalized Similarity Judgments: An Alternative Explanation for Choice Anomalies," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 151-172, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Birnbaum, Michael H. & Gutierrez, Roman J., 2007. "Testing for intransitivity of preferences predicted by a lexicographic semi-order," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 96-112, September.
    2. Aurélien Baillon & Han Bleichrodt & Alessandra Cillo, 2015. "A Tailor-Made Test of Intransitive Choice," Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 63(1), pages 198-211, February.
    3. Sibilla Di Guida & Giovanna Devetag, 2013. "Feature-Based Choice and Similarity Perception in Normal-Form Games: An Experimental Study," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(4), pages 1-19, December.
    4. Chris Starmer, 2000. "Developments in Non-expected Utility Theory: The Hunt for a Descriptive Theory of Choice under Risk," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 332-382, June.
    5. Jonathan W. Leland, 2006. "Equilibrium Selection, Similarity Judgments and the "Nothing to Gain/Nothing to Lose" Effect," CEEL Working Papers 0604, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
    6. Jonathan W. Leland & Mark Schneider, 2015. "Salience and Strategy Choice in 2 × 2 Games," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(4), pages 1-39, October.
    7. Di Caprio, Debora & Santos-Arteaga, Francisco J., 2011. "Cardinal versus ordinal criteria in choice under risk with disconnected utility ranges," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(4-5), pages 588-594.
    8. Michael H. Birnbaum & Daniel Navarro-Martinez & Christoph Ungemach & Neil Stewart & Edika G. Quispe-Torreblanca, 2016. "Risky Decision making: Testing for violations of transitivity predicted by an editing mechanism," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 11(1), pages 75-91, January.
    9. Michael Birnbaum & Ulrich Schmidt, 2008. "An experimental investigation of violations of transitivity in choice under uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 77-91, August.
    10. Han Bleichrodt & Jose Luis Pinto-Prades, 2006. "A New Type of Preference Reversal," Working Papers 06.18, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics.
    11. Birnbaum, Michael H. & Schmidt, Ulrich, 2006. "Empirical Tests of Intransitivity Predicted by Models of Risky Choice," Economics Working Papers 2006-10, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
    12. Zeelenberg, M., 1999. "Anticipated regret, expected feedback and behavioral decision-making," Other publications TiSEM 38371d1b-31fd-45b0-860f-b, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    13. Jonathan W. Leland & Mark Schneider, 2016. "Salience, Framing, and Decisions under Risk, Uncertainty, and Time," Working Papers 16-08, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    14. Michael H. Birnbaum, 2008. "New tests of cumulative prospect theory and the priority heuristic: Probability-outcome tradeoff with branch splitting," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 3, pages 304-316, April.
    15. Uri Gneezy & John A. List & George Wu, 2006. "The Uncertainty Effect: When a Risky Prospect is Valued Less than its Worst Possible Outcome," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1283-1309.
    16. Leland, Jonathan W. & Grafman, Jordan, 2005. "Experimental tests of the Somatic Marker hypothesis," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 386-409, August.
    17. Han Bleichrodt & Peter P. Wakker, 2015. "Regret Theory: A Bold Alternative to the Alternatives," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0(583), pages 493-532, March.
    18. Jonathan W. Leland & Mark Schneider & Nathaniel Wilcox, 2017. "Minimal Frames and Transparent Frames for Risk, Time, and Uncertainty," Working Papers 17-15, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    19. Rosella Castellano & Roy Cerqueti, 2013. "Roots and effects of financial misperception in a stochastic dominance framework," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 47(6), pages 3371-3389, October.

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