Less-Is-Better Effect

Four studies related to real reward support the effect of uncertainty in motivation. Thus, this study highlighted the hedonistic aspects of resource allocation methods and determined when accepting one’s destiny hedonically is better than fighting for the best. [Sources: 2]

This study examines repetition decisions, that is, whether to repeat a behavior (such as a purchase) after receiving an incentive (such as a discount). This study documents the motivation-uncertainty effect and indicates when this effect occurs. [Sources: 2]

This effect occurs only when people focus on the process of seeking a reward, not when they focus on the result (the reward itself). Because people are excited to know what they can actually accomplish, working for an indefinite reward makes the whole situation more like a game than a job. [Sources: 2, 6]

They found that more people ran out of water in order to receive an undefined amount of money. This effect did not disappear in four consecutive rounds of testing. To find out if this accelerating effect persists in the context of real-world behavior, Shen and Hsi conducted their experiment in the gym. This acceleration effect occurred regardless of the absolute value or absolute speed of the number, and even when the number was not tied to any particular award. [Sources: 2, 5, 6]

This behavior tracking helps to stimulate further action, and new research shows that even small scores can act as effective motivators if these scores rise. For example, my coauthors and I studied when people work and earn too much (preparing for publication in Psychological Sciences), when free competition makes people unhappy (preparing for publication in OBHDP), why idleness is bad, and how to keep people busy and happy. (2010). in Psychological Science), and which factors have an absolute influence on happiness, and which factors have only a relative influence on happiness (2009 in the Journal of Marketing Research). [Sources: 4, 5]

Christopher K. Hsee and Reed Hastie of the University of Chicago pointed out four main reasons why we do not follow the decisions that make us happy (Hsee & Hastie, 2006). We like that our decision-making process looks reasonable; unfortunately, seemingly rational decisions can make us less happy. Studies have shown that people prefer to receive beetle chocolate as a gift compared to heart-shaped chocolate, even if they know they prefer heart-shaped chocolate. [Sources: 3]

It makes more sense to choose the most expensive gift, but it makes people less happy. Therefore, “if givers want the recipients of gifts to perceive them as generous, it is best for them to present a valuable item from the low value category (for example, Thaler (1980) called this model this model – the fact that people often demand a lot more in order to give up item than they would be willing to pay to acquire it: the endowment effect. [Sources: 3, 8, 11]

However, these effects only apply to products that are unfamiliar to buyers and do not have observable target prices, and can be mitigated if sellers are encouraged to mimic a single pricing decision. The point is, the human brain doesn’t like to think about cost or prices in isolation. They look for benchmarks – 40-piece crockery sets or 10-ounce cups – and think about relative value. [Sources: 1, 2]

As with Hsees items, people are looking at a 40-piece cookware set with 9 broken pieces, I see a 5-piece play set with 2 games that I already have. This “3 out of 5” comparison would lower my rating for the package. He explains this “less is better” phenomenon by the fact that in a separate evaluation mode, we compare options – clothing, video game kits, dinnerware sets – with a benchmark for that category. [Sources: 1]

Evidence has shown that this only happens when options are individually assessed; it disappears when they are evaluated together. Fischbach, Hsi, and Shen explain this effect by postulating that making the unknown known — that is, figuring out what is in the wrapped package, or figuring out what reward it got — is a positive experience. The conventional wisdom is that people will feel happier with more favorable assumptions (such as higher income) than less favorable assumptions. [Sources: 2, 6, 11]

The downside to larger effect is a type of preference inversion that occurs when a smaller or smaller alternative to a sentence is preferred, when evaluated separately but not evaluated together. The smaller, the more the effect has been demonstrated in several studies leading up to the 1998 Hsees experiment. [Sources: 11]

Based on existing theory, Shen and Hsi suggested that it would be difficult for people to measure the rate of change in ratings (speed), and this figure is difficult to assess without another rating for comparison. This acceleration may seem like they are getting better and better, even if they know the score is not related to actual performance. [Sources: 5]

In three related experiments, the researchers asked participants to type in as many target words as possible within 3 minutes. One group of participants was asked to estimate the cost of 8 ounces of ice cream in a 10-ounce cup; the other was to estimate 7 ounces in a 5-ounce cup; and the third was to compare the two. One group only saw group A but never saw group B, and the other group did the same with group B. [Sources: 1, 5, 11]

People who saw a set with fewer items were willing to pay more than those who saw a set with more items. People were willing to pay a little more for the extra undamaged cups and saucers from Set A. [Sources: 1]

On separate evaluation, preference was given to the newer book; the oldest book was selected in the joint evaluation. A 1996 study by HSEE asked participants to rate two used music vocabularies, one containing 20,000 entries with a torn cover, and the other containing 10,000 entries and looking brand new. [Sources: 11]

Journal of Consumer Research, 27 (3) 279-290 2002 Robin Leboff Choice Based on Identity and Inconsistency of Preferences 2004 Joseph Johnson Johnson, J.G. and Busemeyer, J.R. (2005). [Sources: 0]

A dynamic stochastic computational model of the preference inversion phenomenon. Communication structures and receptivity to information relevant to the solution of logical and statistical problems. Multi-Attribute Linear Ballistic Battery Model of Context Effects in Multi-Choice. The impact of other people’s decision making on regulatory focus and choice overload. [Sources: 0]

Dee Adam Arenson (Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press, 2011) 340 pages. Curated by Jeff Horne, Leonard N. Rosenband and Merritt Rowe Smith (Cambridge, Massachusetts, MIT Press, 2010) 362 pages. Di Nuala Zahedieh (New York, Cambridge University Press, 2010) 329 pages. Dee Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz (New York, Oxford University Press, 2010) 251 pages. [Sources: 9]

Every year SJDM awards the Hillel Einhorn Prize for Best Young Detective Paper. The winner is announced at the annual meeting and invited to present the winning entry. The winner is determined by a committee appointed by the SJDM Board of Directors. The John Castellan SJDM Service Award is named after the first editor of the company’s newsletter. [Sources: 0]

The most amazing and memorable research experience happened when I was not doing research, but was on the bus many years ago. Research shows that knowing about these types of biases and mistakes can help us combat them. The acceleration effect can even last a whole day. [Sources: 3, 4, 5]


— Slimane Zouggari


##### Sources #####

[0]: http://www.sjdm.org/history.html

[1]: https://www.psychologyofgames.com/2013/10/less-humble-bundles-are-more/

[2]: http://www.luxishen.com/research

[3]: https://www.spring.org.uk/2008/06/4-ways-we-fail-to-choose-happiness.php

[4]: https://indecisionblog.com/tag/hsee/

[5]: https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/meaningless-accelerating-scores-yield-better-performance.html

[6]: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-10/uocb-urm101314.php

[7]: https://www.alleydog.com/glossary/definition.php?term=Less-Is-Better+Effect

[8]: https://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/abs/10.1257/jep.5.1.193

[9]: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences/article/why-do-humans-reason-arguments-for-an-argumentative-theory/53E3F3180014E80E8BE9FB7A2DD44049

[10]: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=930083

[11]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Less-is-better_effect