Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 818–827 | Cite as

Incidental emotions associated with uncertainty appraisals impair decisions in the Iowa Gambling Task

  • Virginie Bagneux
  • Hélène Font
  • Thierry Bollon
Original Paper


With the Appraisal Tendency Framework, it has been established that (un)certainty appraisals associated with incidental emotions trigger the kind of information processing to cope with situation. We tested the impact of (un)certainty-associated emotions on a sequential task, the Iowa Gambling Task. In this task, intuitive processing is necessary to lead participants to rely on emotional cues arising from previous decisions and to making advantageous decisions. We predicted that certainty-associated emotions would engage participants in intuitive processing, whereas uncertainty-associated emotions would engage them in deliberative processing and lead them to make disadvantageous decisions. As expected, we observed in two distinct experiments, that participants induced to feel uncertainty (fear, sadness) were found to decide less advantageously than participants induced to feel certainty (anger, happiness, disgust).


Emotion Certainty-uncertainty appraisal Iowa Gambling Task Information processing 


  1. Anderson, E., Fitzsimons, G., & Simester, D. (2006). Measuring and mitigating the costs of stockouts. Management Science, 52, 1751–1763. doi: 10.1287/mnsc.1060.0577.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Angie, A. D., Connelly, S., Waples, E. P., & Kligyte, V. (2011). The influence of discrete emotions on judgement and decision-making: A meta-analytic review. Cognition and Emotion, 25(8), 1393–1422. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2010.550751.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bagneux, V., Bollon, T., & Dantzer, C. (2012). Do (un)certainty appraisal tendencies reverse the influence of emotions on risk taking in sequential tasks? Cognition and Emotion, 26(3), 568–576. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2011.602237.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bechara, A., & Damasio, A. R. (2005). The somatic marker hypothesis: A neural theory of economic decision. Games and Economic Behavior, 52, 336–372. doi: 10.1016/j.geb.2004.06.010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bechara, A., Damasio, A. R., Damasio, H., & Anderson, S. (1994). Insensitivity to future consequences following damage to human prefrontal cortex. Cognition, 50, 7–15. doi: 10.1016/0010-0277(94)90018-3.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bechara, A., Damasio, H., Tranel, D., & Damasio, A. (1997). Deciding advantageously before knowing the advantageous strategy. Science, 275, 1293–1996. doi: 10.1126/science.275.5304.1293.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bodenhausen, G., Sheppard, L., & Kramer, G. (1994). Negative affect and social judgement: The different impact of anger and sadness. European Journal of Social Psychology, 24, 45–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bollon, T., & Bagneux, V. (2012). Can the uncertainty appraisal associated with emotion cancel the effect of the hunch period in the Iowa Gambling Task? Cognition and Emotion,. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2012.712947.Google Scholar
  9. Brand, M., Laier, C., Pawlikowski, M., & Markovitsch, H. (2009). Decision making with and without feedback: The role of intelligence, strategies, executive functions, and cognitive styles. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 31, 984–998.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Camilleri, A. R., & Newell, B. R. (2010). Description- and experience-based choice: Does equivalent information equal equivalent choice? Acta Psychologica, 136(3), 276–284. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2010.11.007.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carver, C. S., & White, T. L. (1994). Behavioral inhibition, behavioral activation, and affective responses to impending reward and punishment: The BIS/BAS Scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67(2), 319–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cavanaugh, L., Bettman, J., Luce, M. F., & Payne, J. (2007). Appraissing the appraisal tendency framework. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 17(3), 169–173.Google Scholar
  13. De Steno, D., Petty, R., Wegener, D., & Rucker, D. (2000). Beyond valence in the perception of likelihood: The role of emotion specificity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 397–416. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.78.3.397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. De Vries, M., Holland, R., & Witteman, C. (2008). In the winning mood: Affect in the Iowa Gambling Task. Judgment and Decision Making, 3(1), 42–50. Retrieved from
  15. Dijksterhuis, A. (2004). Think different: The merits of unconscious thought in preference development and decision making. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87(5), 586–598. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.87.5.586.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ekman, P. (1984). Expression and the nature of emotion. In K. Scherer & P. Ekman (Eds.), Approaches to emotion (pp. 319–343). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  17. Ellsworth, P., & Tong, E. M. (2006). What does it mean to be angry at yourself? Categories, appraisals, and the problem of language. Emotion, 6, 572–586. doi: 10.1037/1528-3542.6.4.572.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Friedman, R. S., & Förster, J. (2005). The influence of approach and avoidance cues on attentional flexibility. Motivation and Emotion, 29(2), 69–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Frijda, N. (1986). The emotions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Goldberg, J., Lerner, J., & Tetlock, P. (1999). Rage and reason: the psychology of the intuitive prosecutor. European Journal of Social Psychology, 29, 781–795. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-0992(199908/09)29:5/6<781:AID-EJSP960>3.0.CO;2-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Han, S., Lerner, J., & Keltner, D. (2007). Feelings and consumer decision making: The appraisal-tendency framework. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 17(3), 158–168. doi: 10.1016/S1057-7408(07)70023-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Johnson, E., & Tversky, A. (1983). Affect, generalization, and the perception of risk. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45(1), 20–31.Google Scholar
  23. Kahneman, D. (2003). A perspective on judgment and choice mapping bounded rationality. American Psychologist, 58, 697–720. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.58.9.697.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Keltner, D., & Lerner, J. S. (2010). Emotion. In D. T. Gilbert, S. T. Fiske, & G. Lindsay (Eds.), The handbook of social psychology (5th ed., pp. 312–347). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  25. Keltner, D., Ellsworth, P., & Edwards, K. (1993). Beyond simple pessimism: Effects of sadness and anger on social perception. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 5, 740–752. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.64.5.740.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Koch, S., Holland, R. W., & van Knippenberg, A. (2008). Regulating cognitive control through approach-avoidance motor actions. Cognition, 109(1), 133–142.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lench, H., Flores, S., & Bench, S. (2011). Discrete emotions predict changes in cognition, judgment, experience, behavior, and physiology: A meta-analysis of experimental emotion elicitations. Psychological Bulletin, 137(5), 834–855. doi: 10.1037/a0024244.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lerner, J., Han, S., & Keltner, D. (2007). Feelings and consumer decision making: Extending the Appraisal-Tendency Framework. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 17(3), 184–187.Google Scholar
  29. Lerner, J., & Keltner, D. (2000). Beyond valence: Toward a model of emotion specific influences on judgment and choice. Cognition and Emotion, 14(4), 473–493. doi: 10.1080/026999300402763.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lerner, J., & Keltner, D. (2001). Fear, anger and risk. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81(1), 146–159. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.81.1.146.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lerner, J., & Tiedens, L. (2006). Portrait of the angry decision maker: How appraisal tendencies shape anger’s influence on cognition. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 19, 115–137. doi: 10.1002/bdm.515.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Mauro, R., Sato, K., & Tucker, J. (1992). The role of appraisal in human emotions: A crosscultural study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62, 301–317. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.62.2.301.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Neumann, R., & Strack, F. (2000). Approach and avoidance: The influence of proprioceptive and exteroceptive cues on encoding of affective information. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79(1), 39–48.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Philippot, P. (1993). Inducing and assessing differentiated emotion-feeling states in the laboratory. Cognition and Emotion, 7(2), 171–193. doi: 10.1080/02699939308409183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Roseman, I. (1984). Cognitive determinants of emotions: A structural theory. In P. Shaver (Ed.), Review of personality and social psychology (Vol. 5, pp. 11–36). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  36. Schaefer, A., Nils, F., Sanchez, X., & Philippot, P. (2010). Assessing the effectiveness of a large database of emotion-eliciting films: A new tool for emotion researchers. Cognition and Emotion, 24(7), 1153–1172. doi: 10.1080/02699930903274322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sigall, H., & Mills, J. (1998). Measures of independent variables and mediators are useful in social psychology experiments: But are they necessary? Personality and Social Psychology, 2, 218–226. doi: 10.1207/s15327957pspr0203_5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Smith, C., & Ellsworth, P. (1985). Patterns of cognitive appraisal in emotion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 48(4), 813–838. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.48.4.813.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Strack, F., & Deutsch, R. (2004). Reflective and impulsive determinants of social behavior. Personality & Social Psychology Review, 8, 220–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Tiedens, L., & Linton, S. (2001). Judgment under emotional certainty and uncertainty: The effects of specific emotions on information processing. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81(6), 973–988. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.81.6.973.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Wagar, B., & Dixon, M. (2006). Affective guidance in the Iowa Gambling Task. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 6, 277–290. doi: 10.3758/CABN.6.4.277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Weary, G., & Jacobson, J. (1997). Causal uncertainty beliefs and diagnostic information seeking. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 839–849. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.73.4.839.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wilson, T. D. (2002). Strangers to ourselves: Discovering the adaptive unconscious. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Virginie Bagneux
    • 1
  • Hélène Font
    • 2
  • Thierry Bollon
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire Interuniversitaire de PsychologieUniversité de SavoieChambéry CedexFrance
  2. 2.Clermont Université, Université Blaise PascalClermont-FerrandFrance

Personalised recommendations