Comparison-Induced Sequence Effects on Hedonic Evaluations


Hedonic evaluations and emotional reactions to experiences depend not only upon the conditions being experienced, but also upon the sequences in which conditions are experienced. The authors propose a comparison-induced distortion (CID) model of sequence effects on evaluation in which to-be-evaluated exemplars are verbally compared (Choplin & Hummel, 2002; Choplin, 2007) to the most similar, recent exemplars. Predictions of this model were tested and pit against Helson’s (1964) adaptation-level theory, Parducci’s (1995) range-frequency theory, and Haubensak’s (1992) consistency model using a paradigm in which sequences periodically improved (i.e., improved for n trials, returned to the original state on a single trial, and improved for n trials again) or periodically deteriorated by small or large amounts. The results were consistent with the predictions of the proposed CID model of sequence effects and inconsistent with adaptation-level theory, range-frequency theory, and the consistency model.

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