Dan Ariely: The enduring impact of transient emotions on decision making

Abstract (Via Andrade & Ariely)

People often do not realize they are being influenced by an incidental emotional state. As a result, decisions based on a fleeting incidental emotion can become the basis for future decisions and hence outlive the original cause for the behavior (i.e., the emotion itself). Using a sequence of ultimatum and dictator games, we provide empirical evidence for the enduring impact of transient emotions on economic decision making. Behavioral consistency and false consensus are presented as potential underlying processes.

Additional Excerpts (Via Andrade & Ariely)

In contrast to this view, this article shows that the influence of mild incidental emotions on decision making can live longer than the emotional experience itself. Given that people often do not realize they are being influenced by the incidental emotional state, decisions based on a fleeting incidental emotion can become the basis for future decisions and hence outlive the original cause for the behavior (i.e., the emotion itself).

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