Are preference reversals reduced when made explicit?

Lisa D. Ordóñez, Barbara A. Mellers, Shi‐Jie ‐J Chang, Jordan Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Previous research has shown that preferences for options, such as gambles, can reverse depending on the response mode. These preference reversals have been demonstrated when tasks were performed sequentially. That is, subjects completed one task before beginning another. In an attempt to eliminate preference reversals, we asked subjects to perform tasks simultaneously. That is, subjects made two types of responses for each pair of gambles before evaluating the next pair. In the condition with no financial incentives, preference reversal rates were slightly reduced. In another condition, subjects were paid for their participation and they were allowed to play a gamble with real monetary compensation. A gamble pair was randomly selected, and if a subject's responses in the two tasks were consistent for that pair, he or she was allowed to play the ‘preferred’ gamble. Otherwise, the experimenter selected the gamble from the pair. With these financial incentives, systematic preference reversals were eliminated for two of the three task combinations. Preference reversals continued to occur for attractiveness ratings versus selling prices, although, even for that pair of tasks, the reversal rate was significantly reduced. For all three task pairs, preference orders from the two tasks appeared to merge into more consistent orders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-277
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Behavioral Decision Making
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • change‐of‐process theory
  • preference reversals
  • strength of preference judgments
  • violations of expected utility theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Decision Sciences
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Strategy and Management


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