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The impact of threat of shock on the framing effect and temporal discounting: executive functions unperturbed by acute stress?

Robinson OJ, Bond RL, Roiser JP - Front Psychol (2015)

Bottom Line: However, the impact that these changes have on higher-order, executive, decision-making processes is unclear.Indeed, Bayes factor analyses confirmed substantial preference for decision-making models that did not include stress.We posit that while stress may induce subjective mood change and alter low-level perceptual and action processes (Robinson et al., 2013c), some higher-level executive processes remain unperturbed by these impacts.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, London UK.

ABSTRACT
Anxiety and stress-related disorders constitute a large global health burden, but are still poorly understood. Prior work has demonstrated clear impacts of stress upon basic cognitive function: biasing attention toward unexpected and potentially threatening information and instantiating a negative affective bias. However, the impact that these changes have on higher-order, executive, decision-making processes is unclear. In this study, we examined the impact of a translational within-subjects stress induction (threat of unpredictable shock) on two well-established executive decision-making biases: the framing effect (N = 83), and temporal discounting (N = 36). In both studies, we demonstrate (a) clear subjective effects of stress, and (b) clear executive decision-making biases but (c) no impact of stress on these decision-making biases. Indeed, Bayes factor analyses confirmed substantial preference for decision-making models that did not include stress. We posit that while stress may induce subjective mood change and alter low-level perceptual and action processes (Robinson et al., 2013c), some higher-level executive processes remain unperturbed by these impacts. As such, although stress can induce a transient affective biases and altered mood, these need not result in poor financial decision-making.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Task sequences. (A) The Framed gamble task (n.b asterisk represents subject choice, not outcome) and (B) temporal discounting task Subjects completed both tasks under threat (red background) and safe (blue background) conditions, with a total of four shocks per task occurring at a pseudorandom point within threat blocks only.
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Figure 1: Task sequences. (A) The Framed gamble task (n.b asterisk represents subject choice, not outcome) and (B) temporal discounting task Subjects completed both tasks under threat (red background) and safe (blue background) conditions, with a total of four shocks per task occurring at a pseudorandom point within threat blocks only.

Mentions: This task was adapted from that used by De Martino et al. (2006). The task consisted of eight blocks (four safe, four threat), each comprising 14 trials. “YOU ARE NOW SAFE FROM SHOCK” or “YOU ARE NOW AT RISK OF SHOCK” was presented for 3 s at the beginning of each new block. Threat blocks had a red background, whilst safe blocks had a blue background. A single shock was delivered at a pseudorandom time in each threat block. Each trial began with a message “You receive £X” where, X = varying monetary amounts. Participants then had 4 s to choose between a certain option, which would leave them with a guaranteed portion of the total £X, or an option to gamble, which could lead to either winning the entire amount or winning nothing. The participant did not discover the outcome of any gambles, but was instructed to consider which option they would choose to maximize wins and minimize losses. In gain frames the participant would have the ‘sure’ option to “Keep £Y,” a certain portion of the total whereas in loss frames participants were told they would “Lose £Z” (where Z + Y = X), implying that they would retain the rest of the total (i.e., £Y) – note that this represents precisely the same decision. Alternatively, participants could choose a gamble option which was presented with a pie chart indicating the probability of each keeping or losing the entire £X amount. In experimental trials, the expected values (sum of all possible outcomes weighted by their respective probabilities) of the gamble and sure options were matched (Figure 1A). Expected outcomes were 20, 40, 60, or 80% of the initial total £X, which was set as £25, £50, £75, or £100. Monetary parameters were counterbalanced across decision frames and between threat and safe blocks. ‘Catch’ trials were also included to verify that the participants were attending to and had understood the task. These trials were designed such that the expected outcome of one option was much larger than that of the other option, such that participants should always choose the option of higher value.


The impact of threat of shock on the framing effect and temporal discounting: executive functions unperturbed by acute stress?

Robinson OJ, Bond RL, Roiser JP - Front Psychol (2015)

Task sequences. (A) The Framed gamble task (n.b asterisk represents subject choice, not outcome) and (B) temporal discounting task Subjects completed both tasks under threat (red background) and safe (blue background) conditions, with a total of four shocks per task occurring at a pseudorandom point within threat blocks only.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4562307&req=5

Figure 1: Task sequences. (A) The Framed gamble task (n.b asterisk represents subject choice, not outcome) and (B) temporal discounting task Subjects completed both tasks under threat (red background) and safe (blue background) conditions, with a total of four shocks per task occurring at a pseudorandom point within threat blocks only.
Mentions: This task was adapted from that used by De Martino et al. (2006). The task consisted of eight blocks (four safe, four threat), each comprising 14 trials. “YOU ARE NOW SAFE FROM SHOCK” or “YOU ARE NOW AT RISK OF SHOCK” was presented for 3 s at the beginning of each new block. Threat blocks had a red background, whilst safe blocks had a blue background. A single shock was delivered at a pseudorandom time in each threat block. Each trial began with a message “You receive £X” where, X = varying monetary amounts. Participants then had 4 s to choose between a certain option, which would leave them with a guaranteed portion of the total £X, or an option to gamble, which could lead to either winning the entire amount or winning nothing. The participant did not discover the outcome of any gambles, but was instructed to consider which option they would choose to maximize wins and minimize losses. In gain frames the participant would have the ‘sure’ option to “Keep £Y,” a certain portion of the total whereas in loss frames participants were told they would “Lose £Z” (where Z + Y = X), implying that they would retain the rest of the total (i.e., £Y) – note that this represents precisely the same decision. Alternatively, participants could choose a gamble option which was presented with a pie chart indicating the probability of each keeping or losing the entire £X amount. In experimental trials, the expected values (sum of all possible outcomes weighted by their respective probabilities) of the gamble and sure options were matched (Figure 1A). Expected outcomes were 20, 40, 60, or 80% of the initial total £X, which was set as £25, £50, £75, or £100. Monetary parameters were counterbalanced across decision frames and between threat and safe blocks. ‘Catch’ trials were also included to verify that the participants were attending to and had understood the task. These trials were designed such that the expected outcome of one option was much larger than that of the other option, such that participants should always choose the option of higher value.

Bottom Line: However, the impact that these changes have on higher-order, executive, decision-making processes is unclear.Indeed, Bayes factor analyses confirmed substantial preference for decision-making models that did not include stress.We posit that while stress may induce subjective mood change and alter low-level perceptual and action processes (Robinson et al., 2013c), some higher-level executive processes remain unperturbed by these impacts.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, London UK.

ABSTRACT
Anxiety and stress-related disorders constitute a large global health burden, but are still poorly understood. Prior work has demonstrated clear impacts of stress upon basic cognitive function: biasing attention toward unexpected and potentially threatening information and instantiating a negative affective bias. However, the impact that these changes have on higher-order, executive, decision-making processes is unclear. In this study, we examined the impact of a translational within-subjects stress induction (threat of unpredictable shock) on two well-established executive decision-making biases: the framing effect (N = 83), and temporal discounting (N = 36). In both studies, we demonstrate (a) clear subjective effects of stress, and (b) clear executive decision-making biases but (c) no impact of stress on these decision-making biases. Indeed, Bayes factor analyses confirmed substantial preference for decision-making models that did not include stress. We posit that while stress may induce subjective mood change and alter low-level perceptual and action processes (Robinson et al., 2013c), some higher-level executive processes remain unperturbed by these impacts. As such, although stress can induce a transient affective biases and altered mood, these need not result in poor financial decision-making.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus