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Emotional states and decision-making

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Jennifer Lerner of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University heads up their Laboratory for Decision Science.

A recent interview with Ms. Lerner outlines her research on the effects that different emotional states (specifically, fear versus anger) have on the making of decisions:

We hypothesized that fear and anger would actually have opposing effects on people’s risk perceptions. In particular, we predicted that fear would lead to a pessimistic outlook, while anger would lead to an optimistic outlook when it came to risk perception.

In our early laboratory studies, we found that experimentally induced fear and anger did indeed have these opposite effects on risk perception.

Read the interview: Jennifer Lerner on Emotion, Judgment and Public Policy

(Hat tip to Security guru Bruce Schneier)

Written by Michael DeBusk

March 23rd, 2008 at 3:07 pm

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