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The Impact of Emotional Cues on Decision-Making and the Additional Influence of Stressful Situations.

Donovan, Nicole (2016) The Impact of Emotional Cues on Decision-Making and the Additional Influence of Stressful Situations. Undergraduate thesis, National College of Ireland.

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The purpose of this study was to test the somatic marker hypothesis (SMH) by systematically manipulating emotional contexts by using an altered version of the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT). This modified decision-making task presented happy or sad abstract faces in the feedback stage of the IGT, where the emotional valence of the face was either congruent or incongruent with the feedback delivered. A conceptual replication of the existing literature is demonstrated in this study, while further investigating the effects of acute stress on decision-making under risk conditions. In order to test the effects of incidental acute stress and emotional context congruency on IGT performance, this study used a 2X2 design (experimental congruent, experimental incongruent, control congruent, control incongruent). Acute stress was induced on experimental subjects using the paced serial auditory addition test (PASAT-C). Interestingly, the research revealed that emotions caused by the stress task elicited intrinsic emotions and cognitive resources relevant to the IGT task. These intrinsic emotions were found to benefit performance in the experimental condition when the emotional context was congruent (p<.01), however performance was impaired in the incongruent emotional context, caused by a disruption in the creation of somatic markers during feedback processing. Explanations for these paradoxical findings are discussed in relation to the cognitive resources evoked by the PASAT-C, which may have benefitted the decision-making process. It is important to further explore the influence of stress on emotion-based learning because often decisions have to be made under suboptimal conditions such as distraction by unrelated tasks or stressful situations.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > Psychology > Emotions
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > Psychology > Stress (Psychology)
Divisions: School of Business > BA (Honours) in Psychology
Depositing User: Timothy Lawless
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2016 14:53
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2016 14:53

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