[EM] cyclic preferences

James Gilmour jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk
Thu Aug 5 14:42:51 PDT 2004

Forest Simmons > Sent: Thursday, August 05, 2004 10:15 PM
> I sympathize with the sentiments of those who would like to 
> allow expression of intransitive preferences.
> In February of 1967 when I took "aptitude" tests after being 
> sworn into the US Army, I noticed that there were lots of 
> questions of preference, for example, one was," Do you like 
> working at a desk better than being outdoors?"
> It would be very easy to create a cycle in your answers to 
> this multitude of questions, especially if you enjoyed a 
> variety of activities both indoors and out, both mental and 
> physical, both individual and team, etc.
> I wondered if the Army would consider such a cycle as 
> evidence of irrationality or dishonesty (if they even checked 
> for cycles).

But the cycles ("this AND that") that can occur in the responses to aptitude tests are covered in
the analysis because the data from aptitude tests are interpreted on multi-dimensional scales, not
on a single-dimension scale (= single winner).  This is why choosing the "best" single winner is the
most difficult election task of all.  It is a challenge to the voting system and it is (often) a
challenge to the voters as well.

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