|Special issue on:
“Cognition and Emotion in Economic Decision Making”
Nicolao Bonini • Luigi Mittone • Rob Ranyard
Introductory article: Explaining Economic Decisions
Section A: Cognition and emotion in risk perception and risk taking
Elisa Gambetti • Fiorella Giusberti
Dispositional anger and risk decision-making
In this study, we assessed the influence of trait anger on decisions in risky situations evaluating how it might interact with some contextual factors. 158 participants completed the Trait Anger scale of STAXI-2 (T-Ang) and an inventory consisting of a battery of hypothetical everyday decision-making scenarios, representative of three specific domains: financial, social and health. Participants were also asked to evaluate familiarity and salience for each scenario. This study provides evidence for a relationship between individual differences in the tendency to feel anger and risky decisions in different domains and for mediation effects of familiarity and salience perception. The evaluation of the mechanisms with which dispositional anger is linked to risky decision-making could further contribute to an understanding of the role of personality traits in decision-making processes.
Uri Benzion • Shosh Shahrabani • Tal Shavit
Emotions and perceived risks after the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war: An experimental study
The current study aims to examine how the intense emotions experienced by different Israeli groups during the 2006 Second Lebanon War affected their perceptions of risk. Two weeks after the end of the war, a questionnaire was distributed among 205 people. Some were from the north and had been directly affected by the rocket attacks; others were from the center of Israel. The questionnaires, based on Lerner et al. (2003), measured emotions and perceived risk. The results show significant differences between those living in the north and those in the center of Israel. As expected, people living in the north reported more emotional difficulties during the war, greater perceived risk, and more pessimism in comparison to the center group. Moreover, the results point to significant differences between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs regarding emotions and perceived risk. In addition, the study results show a positive relation between anger and perceived risk.
Varsha Singh • Azizuddin Khan
Consumer decision in the context of a food hazard: The effect of committment
The European market has faced a series of recurrent food scares, e.g. mad cow disease, chicken flu, dioxin poisoning in chickens, salmons and recently also in pigs (Italian newspaper “Corriere della Sera”, 07/12/2008). These food scares have had, in the short term, major socio-economic consequences, eroding consumer confidence and decreasing the willingness to buy potentially risky food products. The research reported in this paper considered the role of commitment to a food product in the context of food scares, and in particular the effect of commitment on the purchasing intentions of consumers, on their attitude towards the product, and on their trust in the food supply chain. After the initial commitment had been obtained, a threat scenario evoking a risk associated with a specific food was presented, and a wider, related request was then made. Finally, a questionnaire tested the effects of commitment on the participants’ attitude towards the product. The results showed that previous commitment can increase consumers’ behavioural intention to purchase and their attitude towards the food product, even in the presence of a potential hazard.
Section B: Cognition and emotion in socio-economic decisions
Davide Pietroni • Gerben A. Van Kleef • Enrico Rubaltelli • Rino Rumiati
When happiness pays in negotiation
Previous research on the interpersonal effects of emotions in negotiation suggested that bargainers obtain higher outcomes expressing anger, when it is not directed against the counterpart as a person and it is perceived as appropriate. Instead, other studies indicated that successful negotiators express positive emotions. To reconcile this inconsistency, we propose that the direction of the effects of emotions depends on their perceived target, that is, whether the negotiators’ emotions are directed toward their opponent’s proposals or toward their own ‘exit option’. An ultimatum game scenario experiment showed that negotiators who express positive emotion rather than negative, in addition to benefits in terms of relationship fortification, received better offers when participants perceived the negotiators’ emotions directed toward their own ‘exit option’. These findings indicate that positive emotions may signal the availability of better ‘exit option’, suggesting that happiness expressions can be strategically used to maximize both material and relational outcomes.
Alan G. Sanfey
Expectations and social decision-making: Biasing effects of prior knowledge on Ultimatum responses
Psychological studies have long demonstrated effects of expectations on judgment, whereby the provision of information, either implicitly or explicitly, prior to an experience or decision can exert a substantial influence on the observed behavior. This study extended these expectation effects to the domain of interactive economic decision-making. Prior to playing a commonly-used bargaining task, the Ultimatum Game, participants were primed to expect offers that would be either relatively fair (a roughly equal split of an endowed amount) or unfair (an unequal split, to the participant’s disadvantage). A third group played the Game without receiving any prior information about expected offers. As predicted, these expectations had a large effect on decisions made by participants in the Ultimatum Game, with those with expectations of fairness rejecting significantly more unfair offers than those participants who expected low offers. Implications for models of fairness and equity are discussed.
Markus Quirin • Martin Beckenkamp • Julius Kuhl
Giving or taking: The role of dispositional power and positive affect in profit maximization
Socio-economic decisions are commonly explained by rational cost vs. benefit considerations, whereas person variables have not much been considered. The present study aimed at investigating the degree to which dispositional power motivation and affective states predict socio-economic decisions. The power motive was assessed both indirectly and directly using a TAT-like picture test and a power motive self-report, respectively. After nine months, 62 students completed an affect rating and performed on a money allocation task (Social Values Questionnaire). We hypothesized and confirmed that dispositional power should be associated with a tendency to maximize one’s profit but to care less about another party’s profit. Additionally, positive affect showed effects in the same direction. The results are discussed with respect to a motivational approach explaining socio-economic behaviour.