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Journal Articles Scientific Reports Year : 2023

Mood fluctuations shift cost–benefit tradeoffs in economic decisions


Mood effects on economic choice seem blatantly irrational, but might rise from mechanisms adapted to natural environments. We have proposed a theory in which mood helps adapting the behaviour to statistical dependencies in the environment, by biasing the expected value of foraging actions (which involve taking risk, spending time and making effort to get more reward). Here, we tested the existence of this mechanism, using an established mood induction paradigm combined with independent economic choices that opposed small but uncostly rewards to larger but costly rewards (involving either risk, delay or effort). To maximise the sensitivity to mood fluctuations, we developed an algorithm ensuring that choice options were continuously adjusted to subjective indifference points. In 102 participants tested twice, we found that during episodes of positive mood (relative to negative mood), choices were biased towards better rewarded but costly options, irrespective of the cost type. Computational modelling confirmed that the incidental mood effect was best explained by a bias added to the expected value of costly options, prior to decision making. This bias is therefore automatically applied even in artificial environments where it is not adaptive, allowing mood to spill over many sorts of decisions and generate irrational behaviours.
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hal-04412133 , version 1 (23-01-2024)



Roeland Heerema, Pablo Carrillo, Jean Daunizeau, Fabien Vinckier, Mathias Pessiglione. Mood fluctuations shift cost–benefit tradeoffs in economic decisions. Scientific Reports, 2023, 13, ⟨10.1038/s41598-023-45217-w⟩. ⟨hal-04412133⟩
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