Loss aversion and inhibition in dynamical models of multialternative choice

Marius Usher*, James L. McClelland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The roles of loss aversion and inhibition among alternatives are examined in models of the similarity, compromise, and attraction effects that arise in choices among 3 alternatives differing on 2 attributes. R. M. Roe, J. R. Busemeyer, and J. T. Townsend (2001) have proposed a linear model in which effects previously attributed to loss aversion (A. Tversky & D. Kahneman, 1991) arise from attention switching between attributes and similarity-dependent inhibitory interactions among alternatives. However, there are several reasons to maintain loss aversion in a theory of choice. In view of this, an alternative theory is proposed, integrating loss aversion and attention switching into a nonlinear model (M. Usher & J. L. McClelland, 2001) that relies on inhibition independent of similarity among alternatives. The model accounts for the 3 effects and makes testable predictions contrasting with those of the Roe et al. (2001) model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)757-769
Number of pages13
JournalPsychological Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
National Institute of Mental HealthP50MH064445


    Dive into the research topics of 'Loss aversion and inhibition in dynamical models of multialternative choice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this