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Differential Effects of Irrelevant Emotional Context on Regret and Rejoice: A Behavioural Economic Investigation of Decision Making under Risk

Abstract

This study investigates the role of incidental emotion and probability on two aspects of decision making: decision time and post-choice satisfaction (regret and rejoice). We used a modified regret paradigm in which people made choices in the context of pleasant, neutral and unpleasant emotional International Affective Picture System (IAPS) pictures present throughout the decision making and post-decision stages. Both pleasant and unpleasant emotional contexts led to a slower decision time compared to neutral context. With respect to post-choice feeling, participants experienced more regret after losing and less rejoice after winning in unpleasant compared to pleasant and neutral contexts. Further, we observed decreased regret rating from low to high risk conditions in the pleasant context. The regret rating was also observed to be more in the unpleasant compared to the neutral and pleasant contexts during low and high risk conditions, respectively. The results suggest that incidental emotions present during decision making do influence both decision time and post-choice ratings. These results imply that decision making theories need to consider incidental emotional context to explain decision making. We also discuss similarities and differences when incidental emotions are present during decision making with incidental emotions that are present prior to decision making.

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Acknowledgments

This project was supported by the Department of Science and Technology, India under Cognitive Science Research Initiative (SR/CSI/28/2009).

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Correspondence to V. S. Chandrasekhar Pammi.

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Bandyopadhyay, D., Srinivasan, N. & Pammi, V.S.C. Differential Effects of Irrelevant Emotional Context on Regret and Rejoice: A Behavioural Economic Investigation of Decision Making under Risk. Psychol Stud 60, 249–256 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12646-015-0314-x

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Keywords

  • Decision making
  • Risk
  • Emotions
  • Win
  • Loss
  • Regret
  • Rejoice