Protected values and omission bias

Ilana Ritov, Jonathan Baron*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations


Protected values (PVs) are those that people think should not be traded off. Baron and Spranca (1997) proposed that such values result from rules concerning actions (as opposed to values for outcomes). This proposal implies that PVs should show a particularly large bias against harmful acts that undermine the value in question, as opposed to harmful omissions (omission bias). We found this correlation between PVs and omission bias in 3 experiments, using stimuli of the sort that we used before to demonstrate omission bias. In 2 experiments, we also found a weak tendency for PVs to be associated with lack of concern for the number of acts involved, which is analogous to earlier results showing an association with lack of concern for the quantity of outcomes. Finally, 1 experiment showed that some people are willing to sacrifice values to prevent losses more than they are willing to sacrifice these values for gains.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)79-94
Number of pages16
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by NSF Grant SBR95-20288. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Jonathan Baron, Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, 3815 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6196. E-mail: baron@


Dive into the research topics of 'Protected values and omission bias'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this