Birnbaum, M. H., Navarro-Martinez, D., Ungemach, C., Stewart, N., & Quispe-Torreblanca, E. G. (2016). Risky decision making: Testing for violations of transitivity predicted by an editing mechanism. Judgment and Decision Making, 11, 75-91.

Transitivity is the assumption that if a person prefers A to B and B to C, then that person should prefer A to C. This article explores a paradigm in which Birnbaum, Patton and Lott (1999) thought people might be systematically intransitive. Many undergraduates choose C = ($96, .85; $90, .05; $12, .10) over A = ($96, .9; $14, .05; $12, .05), violating dominance. Perhaps people would detect dominance in simpler choices, such as A versus B = ($96, .9; $12, .10) and B versus C, and yet continue to violate it in the choice between A and C, which would violate transitivity. In this study we apply a true and error model to test intransitive preferences predicted by a partially effective editing mechanism. The results replicated previous findings quite well; however, the true and error model indicated that very few, if any, participants exhibited true intransitive preferences. In addition, violations of stochastic dominance showed a strong and systematic decrease in prevalence over time and violated response independence, thus violating key assumptions of standard random preference models for analysis of transitivity.

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