Intransitive Character of Superiority Relations and Decision-making


The article offers an interdisciplinary study of transitive/intransitive character of superiority relations: A is superior (inferior) to B, B is superior (inferior) to C, A is superior (inferior) to C. The author argues that the transitivity principle is not universal. In many subject areas, and with the help of various methods, it is shown that the transitivity axiom withstands only if there is no interaction between the objects under comparison, and that it fails in more complex cases. The author suggests that in such cases a different argumentative basis is needed. He introduces four situation types relating to a) the objective character of transitivity/intransitivity relations; b) their subjective evaluation by a person. He concludes by examining the consequences of decision-making, including erroneous decisions made on the assumption of the principle of transitive relations.

General Information

Journal rubric: Philosophical and Methodological Problems

For citation: Poddyakov A.N. Intransitive Character of Superiority Relations and Decision-making. Psychology, 2006. Vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 88–111. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)

Information About the Authors

Aleksander N. Poddyakov, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Faculty of Psychology, Department of General and Experimental Psychology, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Member of the International Society for Studies of Behaviour Development (ISSBD), Member of the editorial boards of the journals: “Psychology. Journal of the Higher School of Economics", "Researcher/Researcher", "Culture and Psychology", "Mathematical Thinking and Learning", "International Journal of Idiographic Science", Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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