The generality of the emotion effect on magnitude sensitivity
Three studies asked whether reported emotional response interfere with magnitude sensitivity, defined as a subjective evaluation difference between a high magnitude outcome and a low one. Previous research has reported that emotion reduces magnitude sensitivity under separate evaluation in a gain domain (Hsee & Rottenstreich, 2004), a negative effect. We test the generality of this emotion effect in gain and loss domains, and under separate or joint evaluation mode, using a variety of stimuli. We found an opposite, positive, effect in Experiment 1 (in willingness to pay to save species or prevent health impairments) and Experiment 3 (in willingness to pay to prevent bad outcomes in news stories) but replicated the original negative effect in Experiment 2 (compensation for losses). Further research is needed to disentangle possible causes of these effects and to explore how these findings may be applied to measurement of values for non-market goods.
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