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Models of Affective Decision-making: How do Feelings Predict Choice?

Author

Listed:
  • Caroline J. Charpentier
  • Jan-Emmanuel De Neve
  • Jonathan P. Roiser
  • Tali Sharot

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Caroline J. Charpentier & Jan-Emmanuel De Neve & Jonathan P. Roiser & Tali Sharot, 2016. "Models of Affective Decision-making: How do Feelings Predict Choice?," CEP Discussion Papers dp1408, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1408
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    File URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/dp1408.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Christopher J. Boyce & Alex M. Wood & James Banks & Andrew E. Clark & Gordon D. A. Brown, 2013. "Money, Well-Being, and Loss Aversion: Does an Income Loss Have a Greater Effect on Well-Being Than an Equivalent Income Gain?," PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" halshs-00941907, HAL.
    2. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. "Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
    3. Daniel J. Benjamin & Ori Heffetz & Miles S. Kimball & Alex Rees-Jones, 2014. "Can Marginal Rates of Substitution Be Inferred from Happiness Data? Evidence from Residency Choices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(11), pages 3498-3528, November.
    4. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    5. Daniel J. Benjamin & Ori Heffetz & Miles S. Kimball & Alex Rees-Jones, 2012. "What Do You Think Would Make You Happier? What Do You Think You Would Choose?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2083-2110, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:jrisku:v:54:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11166-017-9259-x is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Sumitava Mukherjee & Arvind Sahay & V. S. Chandrasekhar Pammi & Narayanan Srinivasan, 2017. "Is loss-aversion magnitude-dependent? Measuring prospective affective judgments regarding gains and losses," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 12(1), pages 81-89, January.
    3. Garth Heutel, 2017. "Prospect Theory and Energy Efficiency," NBER Working Papers 23692, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Decision-making; feelings; subjective well-being; value; utility; Prospect Theory;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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