Models of Affective Decision-Making: How Do Feelings Predict Choice?

24 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2016

See all articles by Caroline Charpentier

Caroline Charpentier

University College London - Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience

Jan‐Emmanuel De Neve

University of Oxford

Jonathan Roiser

University College London - Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience

Tali Sharot

University College London - Affective Brain Lab, Department of Experimental Psychology

Date Written: February 18, 2016

Abstract

Intuitively, how we feel about potential outcomes will determine our decisions. Indeed, one of the most influential theories in psychology, Prospect Theory, implicitly assumes that feelings govern choice. Surprisingly, however, we know very little about the rules by which feelings are transformed into decisions. Here, we characterize a computational model that uses feelings to predict choice. We reveal that this model predicts choice better than existing value-based models, showing a unique contribution of feelings to decisions, over and above value. Similar to Prospect Theory value function, feelings showed diminished sensitivity to outcomes as value increased. However, loss aversion in choice was explained by an asymmetry in how feelings about losses and gains were weighed when making a decision, not by an asymmetry in the feelings themselves. The results provide new insights into how feelings are utilized to reach a decision.

Keywords: decision-making, feelings, subjective well-being, value, utility, Prospect Theory

Suggested Citation

Charpentier, Caroline and De Neve, Jan-Emmanuel and Roiser, Jonathan and Sharot, Tali, Models of Affective Decision-Making: How Do Feelings Predict Choice? (February 18, 2016). Saïd Business School WP 2016-08. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2734088 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2734088

Caroline Charpentier (Contact Author)

University College London - Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience ( email )

17 Queen Square
London WC1N 3AR
United Kingdom

Jan-Emmanuel De Neve

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Jonathan Roiser

University College London - Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience ( email )

17 Queen Square
London WC1N 3AR
United Kingdom

Tali Sharot

University College London - Affective Brain Lab, Department of Experimental Psychology ( email )

London
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://affectivebrain.com

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