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Matt Kinderman

“Today, most problems with unpredictability and immeasurability of emotions have been solved.” If I had read that before taking this class, I would have been shocked. After learning about many of the mechanisms researchers have an analyzing decision making, I am really starting to see the vast amount of research possible in this field. The authors articulated aspects of decision making and the specificity of emotion that I really hadn’t ever strongly considered.

The paper made sense to me and I tended to agree with the authors yet the paper did not seem truly groundbreaking at first. The unremarkable nature of the paper may be a testament to the authors’ writing in that they are explaining that which we take for granted. Looking at the “mundane” everyday decision making process and not just rare cases seems to be truly important. Exploring more what “feeling is for doing” and the effects that this has on everyday life has many implications far beyond this paper and future research on this topic promises to be quite compelling.

I would have liked to seen more both a bit more in depth analysis of the “illustrations” of feeling is for doing and perhaps another illustration to make the points a bit more clear. I got a bit turned around while reading the prisoners dilemma with fear and guilt and the different effects the inductions of these emotions had on different “social value orientation” individuals.

Ali Norton

I found this paper really interesting. While the concept that emotions impact our decision making intuitively makes sense to me, I had not considered the mechanisms that drive this relationship. While the paper describes emotions as "acute, relatively momentary experiences," I find it fascinating that emotions cause us to prioritize certain goals and therefore motivate and mobilize us with the energy to direct our behavior. I would have thought that emotions guide our decision making, but perhaps lead us to be less rational and therefore make less rational decisions; however, the premise of this article seems to be exactly the opposite. If emotions originate in our brain, then their linkage to decision making as a mechanism to prioritize our goals is extremely fascinating. Further, if emotions act as a motivational process during decision making, it may be interesting to see how we can control our emotions, or ignite emotions when orienting ourselves to our goals.

Michael Fitzgerald

I found it very interesting that emotions can be distinguished as exogenous and endogenous. It isn’t a difficult concept to understand, but is an important distinction to make when discussing decision making. It was also interesting to me that more work had been done on exogenous emotions than on endogenous ones. This seems like it could be the result of economics becoming involved with psychology. By studying exogenous emotions, they were able to understand how an emotional state of mind can have an impact on the thought-process and decision-making of an individual. Exogenous emotions affecting decisions is interesting from the standpoint of explaining and predicting decisions on a case by case basis. Endogenous emotions affecting decision making seems to be much more on the incentive side. By doing something that would likely instigate a certain emotion in a person, you can accurately predict how they will act. This made it intriguing that shame offered results as an endogenous emotion but not exogenous. If a person is feeling shame about something unrelated it isn’t likely to affect their decisions, but if an action could or has resulted in shame that will have an impact.

Kasey Cannon

I found the section on when people experience mixed emotions very interesting. It is very rare that humans are only experiencing one emotion at a given time. That being said, which of the emotions will effect behavior the most? As the authors suggest, perhaps the strongest emotion cancels out the action tendencies and motivations of any other emotion. Another possibility is that the strongest emotion simply gets action priority in the given situation. If this second possibility is true, then the inferior emotion could effect behavior after the stronger emotion has already been reacted upon.

I also found the section on social value orientation interesting. Social value orientation describes some people as pro-socials and others as pro-selfs. In one study on the prisoners-dilemma, researchers found that fear decreased cooperation for pro-socials, whereas guilt increased cooperation for pro-selfs.

Hampton Ike

The paper begins with an interesting proposal: that quick heuristic and emotionally driven decision-making can not only equal but outperform long drawn-out analytical frameworks for decision making. Originally emotions as a factor in decision making were left out of research as they were difficult to predict and almost impossible to measure in any scientific way. One of the more interesting notions in this paper was the idea that each emotion is attributable to distinctly different goals as far as weighting importing aspects of a decision making process. The manner in which emotions were distinguished from one another was also interesting to me: “emotions could be differentiated in terms of the following five experimental categories: feelings, thoughts, action tendencies, actions, and emotivational goods”. Using these factors, emotions and their impact on the cognitive decision making process could be quantified and analyzed. However, the authors make clear that there is still much difficulty in determining behavioral predictions and understanding the intricacies as emotional valences (and making decisions while influenced by multiple emotions). Like others have noted, I find the account of endogenous versus exogenous variables particularly important. I understand that the researchers had to constrain the scope of their paper and the findings, but it is curious that and exogenous emotions were left out of consideration. I know that in my own life, many time I make decisions based off of emotions and in particular exogenous emotions (important ones too). I would like to read more or learn more about the effects of exogenous emotions on decision making, I don’t feel like they are the “bloopers” and non-important emotions that the authors claim.

Madison Smith

I know a lot of people have seemed to express that this paper makes sense automatically, but I think this work has some definite phrases that are counterintuitive to the way that we usually think about emotions, rationality, and decision-making. First, I would not say that you hear people say very often that emotions help us in making the right decision. Actually, I think you usually hear the exact opposite; that emotions should be taken out of the decision-making process. Then, we go on to the idea of measuring emotions based on verbal and non-verbal ways, which surprised me as well because I don’t necessarily feel like everyone conveys emotions in such a predictable way. I’m not doubting that they can do it, but it does seem at first thought to be more subjective than objective. And then, in the same paragraph, the authors state that emotions behave lawfully, which I don’t really think I’ve observed very often either. The part about mixed emotions helped a little bit with my initial feeling that the authors were making this seem like to simple of an idea. I find the confidence of the authors to predict behavior to be really interesting and something that I would like to learn more about in order to understand what it really means to have emotions affect decision-making.

Katherine Hodges

In one section of the article, the author states that different emotions have their own idiosyncratic impact on decision making. While I agree with this concept and the general concept that emotions may behave lawfully, I don't think this is always the case. For example, the authors illustrate that anger motivates us to move against the source of our anger. However, I don't think that all types of anger evokes this goal.

Another assertion that stuck out to me is: "Social value orientation can be understood in terms of individual variation in the chronic accessibility of situation-relevant goals for action." I would tend to agree with this point that there is a lot of individual variation, which leads me to be concerned with over-generalizing emotions. It seems very difficult to separate people into "pro-selves" and "pro-social" beings, as if there is a single spectrum. Emotions are very complex and I'm not sure if I buy that this single distinction is leading to any definitive or even accurate conclusions. Is a person innately pro-self or pro-social? Or are these artificial categories and, in fact, emotions or something other factors are determining this tendency? I understand that their point is that emotion can affect these underlying tendencies, but I am not convinced that an individual is necessarily either inherently.

Lizz Platt

I found the distinction between affect and emotion to be fascinating. In contrast to everyday life, studies must use extremely specific vocabulary rather than interchanging affect and emotion. The authors point out valence as a term known for its use in chemistry and physics. In the case of behavioral economics, valence distinguishes between positive and negative affect and the corresponding utility. By employing specific language, researchers can better understand the influence of emotion. However, an examination into valence is not enough to understand decision-making.

In the first example of a goal-activation mechanism different emotional states were induced. The researchers found a distinction in participant’s social value orientation. Some were pro-socials while others were pro-selfs and it was found that cooperation was altered by induced emotions. The results of this study were interesting because it shows how emotions interact with individual dispositions. Going forward, I would be interested to see if the researchers had a way to predict which category a person fit into before inducing the emotion. Do other tests such as questionnaires indicate a person’s social tendency and predict how emotions will alter with cooperation? I would be interested in other experiments similar to this one and if researchers have any practical implications for policy-making or societal institutions.


What I found most fascinating about this piece was the caveat in the discussion section that the "feeling is for doing" model has not yet been reconciled with the emotions of sadness and Schadenfreude: that there is no known goal-oriented or decision-making purpose. I also found fascinating the interaction between emotions and affect, as Lizz details above. I think that this paper, and pyschological/sociological research in general, could benefit from an evolutionary biological perspective in explaining the potential adaptive benefits of certain affects, the rates of these affects occurring within a given population, as well as the utility of emotions including sadness and schadenfreude.

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