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Emotion, Choice, and Reasons

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Emotion, Choice, and Reasons
Cognitive Neuroscience
• What can the brain tell us about decision making?
• Frontal Lobe damage
– Phineas Gage
– Planning problems
– Difficulty connecting emotions to objects
Why does this matter?
• Emotions signal evaluations
– Somatic markers
• Emotions emerge from motivational system
– Motivational system drives action
– Evaluations will not affect action if they are
Dual systems in reasoning
• Lots of two system theories (Sloman, 1996)
• Intuitive system
– Reasoning based on intuition
• What is intuition?
• Rule-based system
– Reasoning based on logic
– Reasoning based on other explicit rules
• Seems true of effects we have discussed
– Conjunction fallacy
• We still feel the appeal of the fallacy even after we
know why it is wrong
How do reasons affect choice?
• Reasons reflect rule-based system
• People may make choices because they
have reasons
– Options that are easier to justify influence
– Attraction effect gets stronger when people are
asked to justify their decisions
Reason-based choice
• People want to be able to justify their choices
– May make decisions that are easiest to justify.
– Shafir, Simonson, & Tversky
Imagine you just finished a particularly difficult final exam, and you are
walking home. You will not find out whether you passed the exam until
tomorrow afternoon. A travel agent has a sign for an inexpensive trip to
Acapulco. The offer expires that afternoon, but you can pay $5.00 to
hold a reservation until tomorrow. Do you sign up to take the trip or pay
the $5.00 fee?
A majority of people given this scenario pay the $5.00.
Two other groups are run
One group told they passed the exam: Most choose to go
One group told they failed the exam: Most choose to go
People are paying for information that will not affect their choice...
Reasons vs. Emotions
• Are reasons good or bad?
– Emotions may signal an overall evaluation
– May take into account many factors
– Reasons may be more unidimensional
• Wilson et al.
– Two types of posters
• Art reprints and cute posters with cats
Emotion vs. Rationality
• Is there really an opposition between
emotion and rationality?
– Can our emotions help us to be more rational
decision makers?
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