When does adding mildly favorable information (e.g., job experience at the Railway Credit Union) alongside highly favorable (e.g., job experience at Goldman Sachs) increase versus decrease evaluations of a bundle of information like a resume or product bundle? We posit that whether that package of information is evaluated by itself-in separate evaluation (SE)-or side by side with another package- in joint evaluation (JE)-matters. Across a variety of contexts, four studies show that people "average" in SE and "add" in JE. Consequently, mildly favorable information hurts evaluations in SE but helps in JE. Study 1 demonstrated this "adding-and-averaging effect" among persons with expertise: law professors judging law faculty candidates. Adding middle tier academic publications to a higher tier publication on a CV decreased evaluations of a candidate judged in SE but increased evaluations of the same candidate in JE. Study 3 examined a linear pattern prediction, showing that each piece of mildly favorable information linearly added to the overall impression of a package of information in JE but linearly detracted from evaluations of the identical target in SE. Finally, Study 4 traced these differences in evaluative judgments to a shift in reference points brought about by evaluation mode. Implications for the organization specifically and our understanding of judgment and decision making processes more generally are considered.
- Evaluation mode
- Presenter's paradox
- Product bundling
- Separate and joint evaluation
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology