The susceptibility of mental accounting principles to evaluation mode effects

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The present research shows that the predictions and outcomes of mental-accounting tests depend on whether preferences are measured separately (one at a time) or jointly (comparatively). Across five studies, we show that joint evaluation weakens some decision biases (the theater ticket problem, the calculator and jacket problem), but exacerbates others (the basketball game problem). Joint evaluations serve as a check on whether people think the answers they give in separate evaluations make sense or require adjustment. We discuss how the findings impact (1) tests of mental accounting predictions (between vs. within subjects designs), and (2) the normative status of mental accounting.

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© 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Publisher's version of record: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bdm.616

Publication Title

Journal of Behavioral Decision Making