To read this content please select one of the options below:

Emotion, decision-making and the brain


ISBN: 978-1-84855-304-0, eISBN: 978-1-84855-305-7

Publication date: 1 December 2008


Purpose – Initial explorations in the burgeoning field of neuroeconomics have highlighted evidence supporting a potential dissociation between a fast automatic system and a slow deliberative controlled system. Growing research in the role of emotion in decision-making has attempted to draw parallels to the automatic system. This chapter will discuss a theoretical framework for understanding the role of emotion in decision-making and evidence supporting the underlying neural substrates.

Design/Methodology/Approach – This chapter applies a conceptual framework to understanding the role of emotion in decision-making, and emphasizes a distinction between expected and immediate emotions. Expected emotions refer to anticipated emotional states associated with a given decision that are never actually experienced. Immediate emotions, however, are experienced at the time of decision, and either can occur in response to a particular decision or merely as a result of a transitory fluctuation. This chapter will review research from the neuroeconomics literature that supports a neural dissociation between these two classes of emotion and also discuss a few interpretive caveats.

Findings – Several lines of research including regret, uncertainty, social decision-making, and moral decision-making have yielded evidence consistent with our formulization – expected and immediate emotions may invoke dissociable neural systems.

Originality/value – This chapter provides a more specific conceptualization of the mediating role of emotions in the decision-making process, which has important implications for understanding the interacting neural systems underlying the interface between emotion and cognition – a topic of immediate value to anyone investigating topics within the context of social-cognitive-affective-neuroscience.


Chang, L.J. and Sanfey, A.G. (2008), "Emotion, decision-making and the brain", Houser, D. and McCabe, K. (Ed.) Neuroeconomics (Advances in Health Economics and Health Services Research, Vol. 20), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 31-53.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited