Is the perceived value of things an absolute measurable quantity, as in economists’ notion of “cardinal utility,” or a relative assessment of the various objects being evaluated, as in economists’ notion of “ordinal utility”? We believe that the answer depends in part upon which judgment system underlies the evaluation. Specifically, we advance the proposition that due to its distant evolutionary roots, the affective system of judgment is inherently more ordinal (less cardinal) than the cognitive system. That is, structurally, the affective system is designed to perform evaluations in a manner that is inherently more comparative than the cognitive system, focusing more on the relative ranking of various alternatives than their assessment in absolute terms. Results from six studies provide converging support for this general hypothesis and show how this novel proposition can explain classic judgment phenomena such as the greater scope-insensitivity and reference-dependence of affect-based judgments.
Pham, Michel Tuan, Ali Faraji-Rad, Olivier Toubia, and Leonard Lee. "Affect as an Ordinal System of Utility Assessment." Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 131 (November 2015): 81-94.
Each author name for a Columbia Business School faculty member is linked to a faculty research page, which lists additional publications by that faculty member.
Each topic is linked to an index of publications on that topic.