A law of comparative preference: distinctions between models of personal preference and impersonal judgment in pair comparison designs

David Andrich, Guanzhong Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The pair comparison design for distinguishing between stimuli located on the same natural or hypothesized linear continuum is used both when the response is a personal preference and when it is an impersonal judgment. Appropriate models which complement the different responses have been proposed. However, the models most appropriate for impersonal judgments have also been described as modeling choice, which may imply personal preference. This leads to potential confusion in interpretation of scale estimates of the stimuli, in particular whether they reflect a substantive order on the variable or reflect a characteristic of the sample which is different from the substantive order on the variable. Using Thurstone’s concept of a discriminal response when a person engages with each stimulus, this article explains the overlapping and distinctive relationships between models for pair comparison designs when used for preference and judgment. In doing so, it exploits the properties of the relatively new hyperbolic cosine model which is not only appropriate for modeling personal preferences but has an explicit mathematical relationship with models for impersonal judgments. The hyperbolic cosine model is shown to be a special case of a more general form, referred to in parallel with Thurstone’s Law of Comparative Judgment, as a specific law of comparative preference. Analyses of two real data sets illustrate the differences between the models most appropriate for personal preferences and impersonal judgments in a pair comparison design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-194
Number of pages14
JournalApplied Psychological Measurement
Volume43
Issue number3
Early online date2 Nov 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

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