Psychol. Connor, M., and Siegrist, M. (2016). But sometimes, they’re obstacles to effective, logical, and critical thinking. The items were pseudo-randomly distributed throughout the questionnaire, and the participants were asked to rate each activity based on his/her subjective attitude from 1 (not at all risky/beneficial) to 7 (extremely risky/beneficial). Mean risk and benefit judgments across the 64 situations show a strong correlation, r = −0.77, p < 0.001. In addition, Alhakami and Slovic (1994) found that the strength of the perceived benefit was linked to the estimated level of risk involved, suggesting that what people feel about the activity drives the judgments. The RO (N = 204) group was only asked to fill out the form and rate each activity based on the perceived level of risk. This is important because research has shown that people make different evaluations about preferences depending on whether the options are presented in isolation or not (Hsee, 1996; Hsee et al., 1999). (2000) that demonstrated that the inverse relationship between perceived risks and benefits increased greatly under time pressure, when the opportunity for analytic deliberation was reduced. A heuristic is a mental shortcut that allows an individual to make a decision, pass judgment, or solve a problem quickly and with minimal mental effort. doi: 10.1006/cogp.1999.0735. So how much of your emotionsmight influence your decision-making and what impact might it have on your life? Västfjäll, D., Slovic, P., Burns, W. J., Erlandsson, A., Koppel, L., Asutay, E., et al. Most of the time, these heuristics really are useful. The affect heuristic can influence decisions in essentially any domain, and it has been demonstrated that we tend to rely on this heuristic more in situations where there is significant time pressure 1.This means that if we are ever given an important decision to make quickly, we may resort to this heuristic, which has the potential to lead us to choose poorly. For a long time, the general view was that human decision making was a matter of rational, cognitive processing in which alternatives were exhaustively explored and calculated upon (Västfjäll and Slovic, 2013). doi: 10.1111/j.0272-4332.2004.00433.x. This reinforces the robustness of the affect heuristic as a phenomenon when making judgments of risk and benefits. In psychology, a heuristic is a mental shortcut that allows people to make decisions quickly and efficiently. Both correct comparison figures needed to be marked in order to obtain one point for the item, yielding a maximum score of 16. Given that Finucane et al. Scores on the CRT have been linked to risk preferences (Frederick, 2005), but no study has yet to investigate the link to risk and benefit judgments. J Behav Decis Mak. (1978). The affect heuristic is a type of mental shortcut in which people make decisions that are heavily influenced by their current emotions.ï»¿ï»¿ Essentially, your affect (a psychological term for emotional response) plays a critical role in the choices and decisions you make. Thus, individuals high in cognitive reflection may be able to override initial affective reactions to different contingencies or events and instead make risk assessments in a more deliberate state. Damasio, A. R. (1994). For example, nuclear power should be deemed to be both risky and beneficial. If working memory is a determinant, this might be so perhaps because of a limited mental workspace capacity to carry out mental computation of risk and benefit as separate entities. People make decisions based on the information that is most readily available to them. They found that risk and benefit judgments were moderately stable and that participants likely relied on the affect heuristic (Connor and Siegrist, 2016). The patients/participants provided their written informed consent to participate in this study. It might help you stay calm, collected, and level-headed, a strategy that may prevent bad decisions made in the heat of the moment. Measuring risk literacy: the berlin numeracy test. However, we chose to use all four items of the scale and aggregate all correct answers as an index of numeracy and risk literacy, which is a valid alternative (Cokely et al., 2012). The affect heuristic. Furthermore, a recent study by Kusev et al. One of the best known is the availability heuristic. Although maintaining an explorative stance, we expected that several general cognitive abilities would be related to risk and benefit judgments. doi: 10.1177/0013164498058003002. Stanovich, K. E. (2011). A personal anecdote is more powerful than an actuarial table because of the availability heuristic. doi:10.1146/annurev-psych-010213-115043, Finucane ML, Alhakami A, Slovic P, Johnson SM. On the other hand, it could very well turn out that superior cognitive abilities lead to more deliberate evaluations of risk and benefits. Examining the relationship between affect and implicit associations: implications for risk perception. Still, given that this measurement is performed on the average group level, one should be wary of making strong conclusions about individual-level mechanisms that drive these response patterns. I find that in this sense priming would be a subcategory of availability or vice versa. Further support for the affect heuristic came from a second experiment by Finucane et al. Risk Res. One of the characteristics of experiential thinking is its affective basis. Inhibition may explain it differently by inhibiting intuitive, affective, or irrelevant responses that come to mind when evaluating risk and benefit. Reisberg, D.Â The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Psychology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 7:325. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00325. R. J. Davidson, (Cham: Springer), 619—-642. The short version contains 12 items taken from the original RAPM that have proven to be a useful and valid proxy for the full-length RAPM (r = 0.92 correlation with full RAPM; Bors and Stokes, 1998). 125, 576–590. Numeracy and risk literacy was measured using the BNT, developed by Cokely et al. No study has, to date, verified that separate evaluations of risk and benefits show the same pattern as joint evaluations. The maximum score for each condition is 16 for a total of 48 points max. The sequencing condition requires the participant to recall all the digits in the correct ordinal sequence. Given the small sample in Study 2, our correlations and partial correlations should be interpreted with caution. For each test item, there is one missing piece of the figure. to answer the question. By looking at different facets of cognitive abilities, we can get a better understanding of the mechanisms that may explain why some individuals may or may not utilize the affect heuristic. By giving more favorable information about a certain activity, the affective evaluation increased. If the BNT measures individual numeracy and risk literacy, it is likely that these individuals would make more normative decisions of risk judgments. The results obtained from these studies should also be explored in more detail in future follow-up studies. The stability of risk and benefit perceptions: a longitudinal study assessing the perception of biotechnology. Thoma, V., White, E., Panigrahi, A., Strowger, V., and Anderson, I. How Do We Form Impressions of Other People? Brain Sci. Scatterplot of the relationship between risk and benefit judgments in (A) separate evaluation and in panel (B) joint evaluation. Activities in the social/economic domain showed a correlation of r = −0.80, p = 0.029; the health domain r = −0.86, p = 0.001; the sensation-seeking domain r = −0.65, p = 0.007; and the recreation domain r = −0.33, p = 0.180. Several researchers suggest that there is an interaction between more affective, experiential systems and deliberative systems (labeled System 1: fast thinking and System 2: slow thinking, respectively; Kahneman, 2011). Although individual analyses of the different domains are outside the scope of the current study, using a large questionnaire with a variety of everyday activities that are not necessarily infused with strong affect (as opposed to studies investigating attitude toward nuclear power plants or biotechnology) would strengthen the notion that the affect heuristic is involved ubiquitously in everyday judgments of risk and benefits. 41, 1–48. Out of the 500 inhabitants that are not in the choir, 300 are men. Risk perception and affect. In Study 2, we go deeper to investigate individual cognitive abilities involving System 2 processes that may drive the affect heuristic. Although we administered a comprehensive test battery of well-established cognitive measurements, we failed to find a link between executive functions or working memory and the tendency to use the affect heuristic. availability heuristic: A nonsystematic form of reasoning based on how easily a solution to a problem is encountered in thought rather than in logic or careful analysis. (2014). Imagine a situation in which two children arrive at a local park to play. The raven’s progressive matrices: change and stability over culture and time. We administer a test battery of standard cognitive abilities, such as general intelligence, executive functions, and working memory. Perception of risk. (1999). Because affect may also increase the availability of risks, affect and availability are closely related concepts. To see whether the negative correlation was prevalent across domains, we calculated correlation coefficients for the activities within each domain. Read our, How the Availability Heuristic Affects Decision-Making, How Heuristics Help You Make Quick Decisions or Biases, 4 Sneaky Mental Biases That Can Affect Your Health Choices, 4 Common Decision-Making Biases, Fallacies, and Errors, How Cognitive Biases Influence How You Think and Act, How Representativeness Heuristic Influences the Decisions You Make, How the Availability Heuristic Affects Your Decision Making, How Time, Complexity, and Ambiguity Influence Our Decisions, 9 Little Habits That Make You a Better Decision Maker, Types of Cognitive Biases That Influence Your Thinking and Beliefs, How Algorithms Are Used for Problem Solving in Psychology, Cognitive Dissonance and Ways to Resolve It. “Cognition and emotion in judgment and decision making,” in Handbook of Cognition And Emotion, eds M. D. Robinson, E. R. Watkins, and E. Harmon-Jones, (New York, NY: Guilford Press), 252–271. The BO (N = 202) group filled out the same questionnaire but was instructed to rate each activity based on the level of perceived benefit. They allow us to make decisions quickly and efficiently. See Figure 1 for a scatterplot of both joint and separate evaluations. 17, 299–315. In the digit span forward condition, the participant hears a series of digits and attempts to repeat them out loud in order. 15, 263–290. 2000;13:1-17. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-0771(200001/03)13:1<1::AID-BDM333>3.0.CO;2-S, Fox-Glassman KT, Weber EU. Thus, the affect heuristic is a ubiquitous feature of everyday life when judging risks and benefits. By developing a questionnaire containing activities from various different domains and levels of risk, we could also generalize the prevalence of the affect heuristic to not only include highly salient phenomena events such as nuclear power, climate change, or biotechnology. (2011). Educ. This is noteworthy given that objective evaluations of risk and benefits of activities and events in the world often should be independent of one another or even positively correlated (Slovic, 1987). Is the propensity to use the affect heuristic in risk and benefit judgments linked to specific cognitive abilities? In this case, it is the way you feel (your affect) toward a particular stimulus that influences the decisions you make. - influences decisions. Computer-based tasks were run on a laptop, using SuperLab PRO 4.5. To further investigate the stability of the correlations, we calculated rank-order correlations for the groups, but the correlation coefficients remained the same, except for the RB-group that dropped from r = −0.85, p < 0.001 to rs = −0.80, p < 0.001. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). 14, 1085–1096. J Math Psychol. For the RB group, the mean correlation was −0.50 (SD = 0.33). In the third and final session, the participants completed the risk–benefit questionnaire. The difficulty level of the problems was manipulated by increasing the number of digits or by requiring borrowing or carrying. Scatterplots of the relationship between individual RBI and (A) general intelligence and (B) cognitive reflection. Numeracy, CRT, and arithmetic are arguably dependent on logical reasoning skills; thus, we controlled for RAPM to see whether numeracy, CRT, and arithmetic could still explain unique variance. Västfjäll, D., Peters, E., and Slovic, P. (2014). However, statistics show that you are as much as 10x more likely to meet your end while working on a fishing boat . Slovic P, Finucane ML, Peters E, MacGregor DG. 67, 247–257. doi: 10.1111/j.1539-6924.1994.tb00080.x, PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar, Bors, D. A., and Stokes, T. K. (1998). The participant has to infer which figure would complete the pattern out of eight alternatives. An overview of the descriptive results and a correlation matrix can be found in Table 2. and whether the affect heuristic is sensitive to elicitation method effects (joint/separate evaluation). Calculating a rank-order correlation revealed a slight decrease in the coefficient, rs = −0.73, p < 0.001. Two “correct” and two mirrored items were illustrated as comparison items. Judgment of benefit was also equivalent between the RB-group and the RO–BO group, t(126) = 2.54, p = 0.006. For example, the availability heuristic is a cognitive bias by which humans tend to rely on recent information far more than historical information. Cohen, Pham, and Andrade (2008) argue that judgments that are evoked by subjective feelings and moods (for example, sadness or disgust) are influenced by an affect heuristic. Executive functions, spatial ability, and working memory capacity did not link to RBI although cognitive reflection did even when controlling for general intelligence. Many theorists have given affect a direct and primary role in decision making (Damasio, 1994; Loewenstein and Lerner, 2003). Conversely, poorer cognitive reflection scores or other System 2–driven abilities likely indicate that an individual relies on affective markers with which the activities or scenarios are tagged. Raven’s advanced progressive matrices: norms for first-year university students and the development of a short form. (2015). Numeracy and risk literacy was associated with the affect heuristic, but the relationship disappeared once we controlled for intelligence, suggesting that the apparent link was likely attributed to abstract reasoning and logic rather than a specific capability to process probabilities and risk information. Siegrist, M., and Sutterlin, B. Finucane et al. How much does the ball cost?” (2) “If it takes five machines 5 min to make five widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets?” (3) “In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Weber, E. U., Blais, A.-R., and Betz, N. E. (2002). In one study, clinicians were presented with recidivism rates that were either presented as probabilities (such as 30%) or frequencies (such as 30 out of 100).ï»¿ï»¿, The clinicians rated mental health patients as presenting a higher risk when the numbers were presented as frequencies rather than probabilities. This indicates that participants likely used the affect heuristic across all conditions and used affect as an index of the relative risk and benefits of these activities. For example, after seeing several news reports about car thefts… Risk preference shares the psychometric structure of major psychological traits. Keywords: affect heuristic, cognitive reflection, risk perception, decision making, risk, Citation: Skagerlund K, Forsblad M, Slovic P and Västfjäll D (2020) The Affect Heuristic and Risk Perception – Stability Across Elicitation Methods and Individual Cognitive Abilities. 19, 461–475. KS and DV together conceptualized the study and contributed to the study design. New York, NY: The Psychological Corporation. The risk and benefit judgments of all activities can be found in Table 1. If each one of us analyzes information in a way that prioritizes memorability and nearness over accuracy, then the model of a rational, logical chooser, which is predominant in economics as well as many other fields, can be flawed at times. See Figure 3 for scatterplots of the relationships between RBI, CRT, and general intelligence. doi: 10.1037/0022-35188.8.131.520, Finucane, M. L., Alhakami, A., Slovic, P., and Johnson, S. M. (2000). Gebuis, T., and van der Smagt, M. J. If your emotional state is negative, on the other hand, you are more inclined to see the activity as being low in benefits and high in risk. An online survey (described below in Section “Material” of Study 1) administered by CMA Research was created and sent out to a sample of 602 Swedish adults aged 19–35 (328 women, 269 men, and 5 unspecified). We are primarily interested in established general cognitive abilities (e.g., executive functions, working memory, and spatial ability), numeracy and risk literacy, and cognitive reflection. The RB group (N = 196) filled out both questionnaires in a counterbalanced design. Only minor changes were made by some participants, and we concluded that the questionnaire, and the activities therein, are interpreted as intended when using internet surveys of this questionnaire. Availability heuristic The availability heuristic occurs when people make judgments about the importance of an issue, or the likelihood of an event, by the ease with which examples come to mind. doi: 10.1111/j.1539-6924.2006.00773.x, Kralik, J. D., Xu, E. R., Knight, E. J., Khan, S. A., and Levine, W. J. Nevertheless, performance on numeracy and risk literacy measurements likely tap into the ability to process and solve problems concerning risk when numerical information is pertinent to the situation at hand. Psychol. Soc. First, the questionnaire was filled in with a pen and paper instead of on a computer. Preference reversals have been suggested to be driven by the relative ease with which one evaluates the different options (i.e., evaluability). The participants had 4 min to solve as many problems as possible. Research this type of heuristic and explain what it is. J. Operat. A plausible hypothesis is that higher risk literacy results in less propensity to use the affect heuristic (see also Ikawa and Kusumi, 2018). Individual differences in intuitive-experiential and analytic-rational thinking styles. The participant was told to verbalize the color in which the words were written as quickly as possible while inhibiting the meaning of the words. 24, 311–322. Good thinking or gut feeling? According to this model, there are three modes of thinking, two of which correspond to System 2 processing (“the algorithmic mind” and “the reflective mind”), and one corresponds to System 1 processing (“the autonomous mind”). doi: 10.1080/13669877.2014.988169. Accordingly, poorer performance on these tasks would be associated with stronger inverse correlations between judgments of risk and benefit. How numeracy influences risk comprehension and medical decision making.Â Psychol Bull. Arithmetic ability was measured using four subtests (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) using a similar procedure as Gebuis and van der Smagt (2011). This questionnaire was almost equivalent to the one used in Study 1. Next, we describe both of them in more detail. as quickly as possible. While such mental shortcuts allow people to make quick and often reasonably accurate decisions, they can also lead to poor decision-making. Cognitive reflection is the mechanism by which intuitive errors are identified and overridden, and scores on the three-item Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT) have been linked to normative decision making (Frederick, 2005). Your feelings of the relative "goodness" or "badness" of a particular person, object, or activity impact the decisions that you ultimately make. Kahneman, D. (2011). Although deliberative analyses are certainly important in many decision-making circumstances, reliance on affect and emotion as sources of information tends to be a quicker, easier, and more efficient way to navigate in a complex, uncertain, and sometimes dangerous world (Schwarz and Clore, 1988). Psychol. J. Econ. *Correspondence: Kenny Skagerlund, firstname.lastname@example.org, Front. Accuracy vs. 127, 267–286. After completing the questionnaire in its entirety, the participants were paid $5. New York, NY: Avon Books. Third-person self-talk facilitates emotion regulation without engaging cognitive control: Converging evidence from ERP and fMRI.Â Sci Rep. 2017;7(1):4519. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-04047-3, â¸ 2020 About, Inc. (Dotdash) â All rights reserved. They were adapted from previous sources investigating risk perceptions and risky behavior (Slovic, 1987; Weber et al., 2002) and from Bradley and Lang (1999). A causal link between judgments of risk and benefit was established by Finucane et al. Stanovich, K. E., and West, R. F. (2000). Evidence has amassed for the significance of affect in judgment and decision-making , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , leading Kahneman to state that, “The idea of an affect heuristic…is probably the most important development in the study of…heuristics in the past few decades. Thus, the inverse relationship between risk and benefit judgments may be driven by System 1 processes, which our findings support. Revisiting the 1978 psychological dimensions of perceptions of technological risks, How numeracy influences risk comprehension and medical decision making, Third-person self-talk facilitates emotion regulation without engaging cognitive control: Converging evidence from ERP and fMRI. Psychol. Much like other heuristics, the affect heuristic has its advantages and disadvantages. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. doi: 10.1111/risa.12179, Sloman, S. A. Moreover, traders also displayed higher risk-taking behavior than the other groups, which could suggest a link between cognitive reflection and the inclination to take risks despite possibly negative emotional reactions that accompany those risks. Why? Instructions were read aloud by an experimenter from a printed manuscript, and all tests were administered in the same order for all study participants. Perspect. All testing was completed within 4 months. These abilities may be involved in attending to relevant information and inhibiting distracting elements. Risk Anal. The trail-making test was in paper-and-pencil format and contained 22 circles, each with a digit or a letter. When an infrequent event can be brought easily and vividly to mind, this heuristic overestimates its likelihood. 2009;135(6):943â973.Â doi:10.1037/a0017327, Moser JS, Dougherty A, Mattson WI, et al. Received: 11 February 2020; Accepted: 20 April 2020;Published: 12 June 2020. J. Behav. Ever wonder what your personality type means? Cogn. The arithmetic of emotion: integration of incidental and integral affect in judgments and decisions. Heuristics come in all flavors, but two main types are the representativeness heuristic and the availability heuristic. Lay rationalism: individual differences in using reason versus feelings to guide decisions. This subtest contains three conditions: digit span forward, digit span backward, and digit span sequencing. If the judgments of risk and benefit are sensitive to whether they are made in joint or separate evaluation, we would expect a difference in the strength of the correlation coefficient between conditions. This suggests, as in Study 1, that some have stronger negative linearity than others. Slovic, P., Finucane, M. L., Peters, E., and MacGregor, D. G. (2007). Each individual was randomly assigned to one of three groups: (1) Risk-Only (RO), (2) Benefit-Only (BO), or (3) Risk–Benefit (RB). It might not come as much of a surprise to learn that your emotions influence all types of decisions, both big and small.ï»¿ï»¿ After all, you might already know that you are more likely to take risks or try new things when you are happy, but less likely to go out on a limb when you're feeling glum. The immediacy of the information holds more power than the accuracy or completeness of the information. MF collected data and performed data analysis. The Stroop task consisted of two sheets of paper containing 30 written color words divided into two columns on each sheet. The ability to inhibit System 1 impulses or intuitions, as measured by the CRT, is, thus, related to whether one relies on the affect heuristic or not. Behav. The testing was divided into three separate sessions. Technical Report C-1, The Center for Research in Psychophysiology. “The affect heuristic,” in Heuristics and Biases: The Psychology of Intuitive Judgment, eds T. Gilovich, D. Griffin, and D. Kahneman, (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press), 397–420. But numeracy and risk literacy appears not to predict whether one uses the affect heuristic during risk and benefit judgments once logical reasoning ability is accounted for. The affect heuristic in judgments of risk and benefit. Human and nature-caused hazards: the affect heuristic causes biased decisions. informative Functions of affective states,” in Affect, Cognition, and Social Behavior, eds K. Fiedler, and J. Forgas, (Toronto: Hofgrefe International), 44–62. The second aim of this project is to investigate another form of stability: across methods of assessing/inducing reliance on System 1 versus System 2 processing. Reading the words "lung cancer" usually generates an affect of dread, while reading the words "mother's love" usually generates an affect of affectionand comfort. The group-level correlation for the RB group was r = −0.85, p < 0.001, and for the separate RO–BO group it was r = −0.86, p < 0.001. Your feelings of the relative "goodness" or "badness" of a particular person, object, or activity impact the decisions that you ultimately make. The Availability heuristic is a mental conception of an event that often involves biased judgments about that event. However, we find plausible support for the stability of the affect heuristic in risk and benefit judgments, irrespective of whether the judgments are made separately or jointly. Decision Mak. 2015;66:799â823. Decision framing 5.