Visual analogue scales, standard gambles, and relative risk aversion

Angela Robinson, Graham Loomes, Michael Jones-Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: It has been argued that visual analog scales (VASs) elicit an individual's measurable value function. The theoretical link between an individual's measurable value function v(.) and his or her von Neumann-Morgenstem utility function u(.) appears to provide a justification for transforming VAS scores into standard gamble (SG) utilities. However, VAS scores have been found to be subject to the effects of context, which casts doubt that the procedure is properly revealing v(.). METHODS: The authors tested for the effects of context on VAS and SG scores. They also explored whether the range-frequency (R- F) model of Parducci offers a means of correcting VAS scores for the effects of context. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: The R-F model may provide a means of correcting VAS scores for the effects of context, but no stable relationship exists between these corrected scores and SG utilities. Hence, there remain no grounds for transforming VAS scores into SG utilities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-27
Number of pages11
JournalMedical Decision Making
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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