The Dark Side of Emotion in Decision-Making: When Individuals with Decreased Emotional Reactions Make More Advantageous Decisions

The Dark Side of Emotion in Decision-Making: When Individuals with Decreased Emotional Reactions Make More Advantageous Decisions

By
Baba Shiv, George Loewenstein, Antoine Bechara
Cognitive Brain Research. April
2005, Vol. 23, Issue 1, Pages 85-92

Can dysfunction in neural systems subserving emotion lead, under certain circumstances, to more advantageous decisions? To answer this question, we investigated how individuals with substance dependence (ISD), patients with stable focal lesions in brain regions related to emotion (lesion patients), and normal participants (normal controls) made 20 rounds of investment decisions. Like lesion patients, ISD made more advantageous decisions and ultimately earned more money from their investments than the normal controls. When normal controls either won or lost money on an investment round, they adopted a conservative strategy and became more reluctant to invest on the subsequent round, suggesting that they were more affected than lesion patients and ISD by the outcomes of decisions made in the previous rounds.