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Emotional processes in risky and multiattribute health decisions

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Objective : Here, we develop an integrative account of the roles of emotion in decision-making. In Part I, we illustrate how emotional inputs into decisions may rely on physiological signals from emotions experienced while making the decision, and we review evidence suggesting that the failure to represent the emotional meaning of options can often reduce decision quality. We propose that health-related decrements in the ability to generate emotional reactions lead people to inaccurately represent emotional responses and compromise decisions, particularly about risk. Part II explores complex decisions in which choice options involve trade-offs between positive and negative attributes. We first review evidence showing that difficult trade-off decisions generate negative affect and physiological arousal. Next, we propose that medical decision-making will be linked to short- and long-term stress and health outcomes.

Conclusion : In sum, this article proposes and reviews initial evidence supporting the effective use and management of emotional inputs as important to both clinical and non-clinical populations. Our approach will contribute to the understanding of patient-centred emotional decision-making and will inform medical decision aids.
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Keywords: decision-making; emotion; health; risk

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA

Publication date: January 2, 2018

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