Publication Date



Technical Report: UTEP-CS-14-24a

Published in Proceedings of the 2014 Annual Conference of the North American Fuzzy Information Processing Society NAFIPS'2014, Boston, Massachusetts, June 24-26, 2014.


It has been observed that in many cases, when we present a user with three selections od different price (and, correspondingly, different quality), then the user selects the middle selection. This empirical fact -- known as a compromise effect -- seems to contradicts common sense. Indeed, when a rational decision-maker selects one of the two alternatives, and then we add an additional option, then the user will either keep the previous selection or switch to a new option, but he/she will not select a previously rejected option. However, this is exactly what happens under the compromise effect. If we present the user with three options a < a' < a'', then, according to the compromise effect, the user will select the middle option a', meaning that between a' and a'', the user will select a'. However, if instead we present the user with three options a' < a'' < a''', then, according to the same compromise effect, the use will select a previously rejected option a''. In this paper, we show that this seemingly irrational behavior actually makes sense: it can be explained by an application of a symmetry approach, an approach whose application to uncertainty was pioneered by N. Wiener (together with interval approach to uncertainty).

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