Effects of Induced Affective States on Decisions under Risk with Mixed Domain Problems

AbstractWe investigated whether induced affective states can affect the process and outcomes of decisions under risk. A mood induction task was used to elicit a positive or negative mood in a sample of adult participants (N=48). The participants then responded to 28 decision problems, each offering a choice between two mixed-domain risky alternatives. The dependent variables of interest were decision-making choices, as well as an eye-tracking based attentional measure: the total fixation durations for certain critical aspects of the two presented risky decision options. Mood condition did not have a significant main effect on participants’ choices, or on mean total fixation time for problems. However, fixation times showed a three-way interaction between mood condition, domain (gain versus loss), and time (block). The fixation time data also provided some general insights into participants’ patterns of attention allocation during decision-making. They generally spent more time looking at values compared to probabilities, and more time looking at potential gains compared to losses (although this difference declined over time, especially for positive-mood participants).

Return to previous page