Reversed better-than-average effect in direct comparisons of nonsocial stimuli depends on the set size
Above-average and below-average effects appear to be common and consistent across a variety of judgment domains. For example, several studies show that individual items from a high- (low-) quality set tend to be rated as better (worse) than the other items in the set (e.g., E. E. Giladi & Y. Klar, 2002). Experiments in this article demonstrate reversals of these effects. A novel account is supported, which describes how the timing of the denotation of the to-be-judged item influences attention and ultimately affects the size or direction of comparative biases. The authors discuss how this timing account is relevant for many types of referent-dependent judgments (e.g., probability judgments, resource allocations) and how it intersects with various accounts of comparative bias (focalism, generalized-group, compromise between local and general standards [LOGE]).