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Affective bias in complex decision making: Modulating sensitivity to aversive feedback

Affective bias in complex decision making: Modulating sensitivity to aversive feedback,10.1007/s11031-011-9217-x,Motivation and Emotion,Julie L. Davie

Affective bias in complex decision making: Modulating sensitivity to aversive feedback  
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The present study investigated the conflict between well-developed attitudes and incentive rewards using the Iowa Gambling Task. In particular, the incorporation of emotional labels allowed us to model the role of affective biases and their impact on complex decision making over time. Two experiments manipulated the class of deck label (emotional pictures and racial faces) using both congruent and incongruent association to the deck incentives. Both experiments demonstrated that an incongruent association can lead to striking and persistent decision making biases. Thus, a common theme was a general inability to tolerate conflict between rewards and goal-irrelevant labels. Notably, Experiment 2 demonstrated that this ‘incongruency’ effect appeared to result from positive labels interfering with aversive experiences from bad decks. More generally, sensitivity to accumulating losses from punishing decks was primarily associated with successful performance on these Gambling Task variants. These results suggest emotional biases are readily harmful in complex decision making, and that flexibility in the extent to which we permit emotional influences to guide our decisions is crucial.
Journal: Motivation and Emotion - MOTIV EMOTION , vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 235-248, 2011
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