Probabilistic Inferences Under Emotional Stress: How Arousal Affects Decision Processes

Szymon Wichary , Rui Mata , Jörg Rieskamp


Many models of decision making neglect emotional states that could affect individuals' cognitive processes. The present work explores the effect of emotional stress on people's cognitive processes when making probabilistic inferences. Two contrasting hypotheses are tested against one another: the uncertainty-reduction and attention-narrowing hypotheses of how emotional stress affects decision making. In the experimental study, emotional stress was induced through the use of highly aversive pictures immediately before each decision. Emotional state was assessed by both subjective (state anxiety, arousal, and pleasantness ratings) and objective (skin conductance) measures. The results show that emotional stress impacts decision making; in particular, emotionally aroused participants seem to have focused on the most important information and selected simpler decision strategies relative to participants in a control condition. The results are in line with the attention-narrowing hypothesis and suggest that emotional stress can impact decision making through limited predecisional information search and the selection of simpler decision strategies. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Author Szymon Wichary (Wydział Psychologii)
Szymon Wichary,,
- Wydział Psychologii
, Rui Mata
Rui Mata,,
, Jörg Rieskamp
Jörg Rieskamp,,
Journal seriesJournal of Behavioral Decision Making, ISSN 0894-3257, (A 35 pkt)
Issue year2015
Publication size in sheets0.3
Keywords in Englishemotion, skin conductance, information search, strategy selection
ASJC Classification1408 Strategy and Management; 3312 Sociology and Political Science; 3202 Applied Psychology; 1201 Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous); 1800 General Decision Sciences
Languageen angielski
wicharyEtal_2015_prob inferences.emotional stress_jbdm.pdf 647.89 KB
Additional file
BROWN_IR-ADV5255_16_0107_001-46.pdf 16.48 KB
Score (nominal)35
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2015 = 1.581; WoS Impact Factor: 2015 = 2.768 (2) - 2015=2.913 (5)
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