Tian Ji and Chariot-Racing: Violation of Dominance in Similarity Judgment of Chinese Character
S. Li
Dominance serves as the cornerstone of the normative theory of decision-making. The "equate-to-differentiate" theory (Li, 1994a) is proposed as a means by which the dominance rule can be made applicable in more general cases. The "equate-to-differentiate" theory postulates that the offered differences between alternatives on all dimensions except one are presumably equated thus leaving at least one unequated dimensional difference to be differentiated as the determinant of the final choice. The justification for proposing such a model lies in the wealth of evidence that human cognitive ability is inadequate to carry out a trading-off process over utility or psychological distance. It is therefore assumed that the ordinal relation between alternatives based on intradimensional evaluation will not necessarily remain unchanged if the overall evaluation needs any dimensional trade-off. The present research on similarity judgement of Chinese characters demonstrates that the presence of dominance depends on the results of a variety of manipulations of the component-wise fashion in which a single pair of alternatives are compared.

Key words: dominance, similarity judgment, Chinese characters