When objects are evaluated separately rather than jointly, decision makers focus less on attributes that are important and are influenced more by attributes that are easy to evaluate. The less-is-better effect suggests a preference reversal when objects are considered together instead of separately. One study presented participants with two dinner set options. Option A included 40 pieces, nine of which were broken. Option B included 24 pieces, all of which were intact. Option A was superior, as it included 31 intact pieces. When evaluated separately, individuals were willing to pay a higher price for set B. In a joint evaluation of both options, on the other hand, Option A resulted in higher willingness to pay (Hsee, 1998).
Hsee, C. K. (1998). Less is better: When low-value options are valued more highly than high-value options. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 11, 107-121.