Journal of Behavioral Decision Making

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Volume 32 Issue 1 (January 2019), Pages 1-105

Much ado about nothing: The zero effect in life‐saving decisions (pages 30-37)

Abstract Zero is a special value in our daily lives, and previous research on how zero values affect decision making leaves many questions to be explored. The present research examined the zero effect in life‐saving decisions and found that people expressed strong preferences for options offering a possibility that no one will die, even when the expected loss was relatively high. The prominence effect (the notion that the option with possibly zero deaths is easy to defend and justify) was proposed as one possible explanation. Furthermore, we also found that the zero effect in these life‐saving decisions occurs only in loss framing rather than gain framing. We discuss the relationships between the zero effect, framing, and evaluation mode in life saving and other domains.

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