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The value of emotion: how does episodic prospection modulate delay discounting?

Liu L, Feng T, Chen J, Li H - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: Study 1 showed that participants were more inclined to choose the delayed but larger rewards when they imaged positive future events than when they did not image events; Study 2 showed that participants were more inclined to choose the immediate but smaller rewards when they imaged negative future events than when they did not image events; In contrast, study 3 showed that choice preferences of participants when they imaged neutral future events were the same as when they did not image events.Only imaging events with neutral emotion did not affect individuals' choice preference.It is possible that the valence of emotion may affect the changed direction (promote or inhibit) of individuals' delay discounting, while the ability to image future events affects the changed degree of individuals' delay discounting.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing, China ; School of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China.

ABSTRACT

Background: Humans often show impatience when making intertemporal choice for monetary rewards, preferring small rewards delivered immediately to larger rewards delivered after a delay, which reflects a fundamental psychological principle: delay discounting. However, we propose that episodic prospection humans can vividly envisage exerts a strong and broad influence on individuals' delay discounting. Specifically, episodic prospection may affect individuals' intertemporal choice by the negative or positive emotion of prospection.

Methodology/principal findings: The present study explored how episodic prospection modulated delay discounting by emotion. Study 1 showed that participants were more inclined to choose the delayed but larger rewards when they imaged positive future events than when they did not image events; Study 2 showed that participants were more inclined to choose the immediate but smaller rewards when they imaged negative future events than when they did not image events; In contrast, study 3 showed that choice preferences of participants when they imaged neutral future events were the same as when they did not image events.

Conclusions/significance: By manipulating the emotion valence of episodic prospection, our findings suggested that positive emotion made individuals tend to choose delayed rewards, while negative emotion made individuals tend to choose immediate rewards. Only imaging events with neutral emotion did not affect individuals' choice preference. Thus, the valence of imaged future events' emotion might play an important role in individuals' intertemporal choice. It is possible that the valence of emotion may affect the changed direction (promote or inhibit) of individuals' delay discounting, while the ability to image future events affects the changed degree of individuals' delay discounting.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Results from Experiment 3: mean percentage of immediate reward as a function of the control condition (no imaging) and the experimental condition (imaging neutral events).Error bars indicate standard errors of the mean.
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pone-0081717-g004: Results from Experiment 3: mean percentage of immediate reward as a function of the control condition (no imaging) and the experimental condition (imaging neutral events).Error bars indicate standard errors of the mean.

Mentions: Similarly, we tested a Paired-samples T test with condition (experimental condition, control condition) as the paired factor. The results showed that there was no significant difference about choice preference between experimental condition (participants needed to image neutral events, M = 48.27%, SE = 2.85%) and control condition (participants did not image future events, M = 48.45%, SE = 2.12%), t (29) = 0.100, p = .921, d<0.01 (see Figure 4). Thus, neutral episodic prospection with neutral emotion did not affect the participants' choice preferences.


The value of emotion: how does episodic prospection modulate delay discounting?

Liu L, Feng T, Chen J, Li H - PLoS ONE (2013)

Results from Experiment 3: mean percentage of immediate reward as a function of the control condition (no imaging) and the experimental condition (imaging neutral events).Error bars indicate standard errors of the mean.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3842935&req=5

pone-0081717-g004: Results from Experiment 3: mean percentage of immediate reward as a function of the control condition (no imaging) and the experimental condition (imaging neutral events).Error bars indicate standard errors of the mean.
Mentions: Similarly, we tested a Paired-samples T test with condition (experimental condition, control condition) as the paired factor. The results showed that there was no significant difference about choice preference between experimental condition (participants needed to image neutral events, M = 48.27%, SE = 2.85%) and control condition (participants did not image future events, M = 48.45%, SE = 2.12%), t (29) = 0.100, p = .921, d<0.01 (see Figure 4). Thus, neutral episodic prospection with neutral emotion did not affect the participants' choice preferences.

Bottom Line: Study 1 showed that participants were more inclined to choose the delayed but larger rewards when they imaged positive future events than when they did not image events; Study 2 showed that participants were more inclined to choose the immediate but smaller rewards when they imaged negative future events than when they did not image events; In contrast, study 3 showed that choice preferences of participants when they imaged neutral future events were the same as when they did not image events.Only imaging events with neutral emotion did not affect individuals' choice preference.It is possible that the valence of emotion may affect the changed direction (promote or inhibit) of individuals' delay discounting, while the ability to image future events affects the changed degree of individuals' delay discounting.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing, China ; School of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China.

ABSTRACT

Background: Humans often show impatience when making intertemporal choice for monetary rewards, preferring small rewards delivered immediately to larger rewards delivered after a delay, which reflects a fundamental psychological principle: delay discounting. However, we propose that episodic prospection humans can vividly envisage exerts a strong and broad influence on individuals' delay discounting. Specifically, episodic prospection may affect individuals' intertemporal choice by the negative or positive emotion of prospection.

Methodology/principal findings: The present study explored how episodic prospection modulated delay discounting by emotion. Study 1 showed that participants were more inclined to choose the delayed but larger rewards when they imaged positive future events than when they did not image events; Study 2 showed that participants were more inclined to choose the immediate but smaller rewards when they imaged negative future events than when they did not image events; In contrast, study 3 showed that choice preferences of participants when they imaged neutral future events were the same as when they did not image events.

Conclusions/significance: By manipulating the emotion valence of episodic prospection, our findings suggested that positive emotion made individuals tend to choose delayed rewards, while negative emotion made individuals tend to choose immediate rewards. Only imaging events with neutral emotion did not affect individuals' choice preference. Thus, the valence of imaged future events' emotion might play an important role in individuals' intertemporal choice. It is possible that the valence of emotion may affect the changed direction (promote or inhibit) of individuals' delay discounting, while the ability to image future events affects the changed degree of individuals' delay discounting.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus