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Effects of Emotions and Social Processes on Bounded Rationality

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Effects of Emotions and Social Processes on Bounded Rationality
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  This excerpt fromBounded Rationality.Gerd Gigerenzer and Reinhard Selten, editors.© 2001 The MIT Press.is provided in screen-viewable form for personal use only by membersof MIT CogNet.Unauthorized use or dissemination of this information is expresslyforbidden.If you have any questions about this material, please contactcognetadmin@cognet.mit.edu.  People acing decisions are constrained y computational apacities f the hu-man mind, i.e., they are imited in their perceptions their attention their memories, as well as heir infonnation-processing bilities. Rather han optimizing,they resort o simplifying rules and heuristics Gigerenzer t al. (1999 explorefast and frugal heuristics and argue hat these ools work remarkably well be.cause hey exploit structural egularities n the environment The heuristics heydiscuss are largely based on cognitive processes In this chapter we discussheuristics hat exploit structure n the social and emotional world.   Emotions have raditionally been egarded s mpediments o rationality. They~'reak havoc on orderly thought interfere with logical reasoning and subvertthe most carefully aid plans. In the past, emotions have been inked o madness the Romans for example treated anger as a temporary bout of insanity (deSousa 1987. Although emotions can be detrimental we focus here on theiradaptive properties 15 Barbara . Mellers RapporteurIdo Erev Daniel M.T. Fessler Charlotte . Hemelrijk Ralph Hertwig Kevin N. Laland Klaus R. Scherer Thomas . Seeley Reinhard elten and Philip E. TetlockINTRODUCTIONEMOTIONAL R ADAPTIVE TOOLBOX Group Report: Effectsof Emotions and SocialProcesses n BoundedRationality  Darwin (1872 was one of the first to make he case hat emotional expressions are beneficial. Threatened nimals often show heir teeth and, in the pro- cess signal their ability, and perhaps heir intention, to attack an aggressorPeople who are surprised pen heir eyes widely and, n that way, obtain as much new nfonnation as possible These expressions ave evolved o provide advan tages o survival and reproductionMore recently Damasio 1994 demonstrated he mportance f emotions byexamining what happens o those who cannot experience hem. He describes patient named Elliot who suffered rom a particular orm of frontal obe damage Although Elliot's reasoning rocesses ere excellent he was unable o experi-ence eelings The absence f emotions was disruptive enough o render him in- capable of functioning as a social being.Damasio argues hat Elliot is a modem-day version of Phineas Gage Gageworked or the railroad and often set off explosives o clear away ocks and de bris. On a fateful day in 1848 an accident occurred An iron rod pierced hischeek came out through he op of his skull, and damaged is frontal obe n thesame egion as hat of Elliot. Gage survived he accident and, miraculously re-tained his capacity or rational hought. However his personality was different: he was unable o experience motions Damasio argues hat Gages tragic decline and eventual death were caused y his nability to experience motions and behave appropriately as a social being.Emotions have beneficial effects rom the first day of life. Infants ypicallysmile n their first or second ay and augh n their fourth or fifth month. Smiling,laughing and crying increase he infant's chances f obtaining parental attention (Freedman t al. 1967. By the eighth month, infants smile selectively n re-sponse o familiar faces and cry in response o unfamiliar ones Such smilesfurther reinforce attachments etween parent and child. Later n life, emotions serve a wider array of functions Damasio 1994 sug- gests hat, when considering he consequences f our actions we associate nticipated outcomes with bodily feelings For example bad outcomes re inkedto unpleasant ut reactions Those isceral eelings can direct our attention away from decisions with unpleasant eelings and oward decisions with more plea surable ones Damasio efers o the process as he somatic marker hypothesis This process he claims, implicitly reduces he number of options we considerand makes our decisions more manageable Frank (1988 stresses he economic advantages f emotions Emotions pro- mote self-interest not because f any hidden gains n their expression but rather because hey solve commitment problems Some decisions require diffI-cult-to-reverse commitments rom individuals, even hough he commitmentsmay be contrary o their short-tenn interests Consider a couple who wants omarry and have children. They may be reluctant o do so or fear of their partner leaving f and when a more attractive mate becomes vailable The couple could solve he problem by writing a contract with large penalties on divorce, or they 264 Barbara A. Mellers et al.  What Are Emotions?Emotions are relatively brief episodes f synchronized esponses hat produce noticeable hanges n the functioning of an organism Such changes re brought about by triggering events of major significance (Scherer 1999. The term,"emotion" refers to a combination of components including physiologicalarousal, motor expression and subjective feelings with emotional andmotivational consequences Emotions usually ast or a relatively short period of time and disappear airly rapidly, generally anging rom several minutes o afew hours with the exception of sadness Other affective phenomena onger n duration nclude moods (e.g., cheerful gloomy, irritable, listless depressedbuoyant, interpersonal ffective stances e.g., distant cold, wann, supportivecontemptuous, attitudes (e.g., liking, loving, hating, valuing, desiring), andaffectively pertinent personality raits (nervous anxious reckless morose hostile, envious ealous).Most researchers gree on at least eight emotions including anger sadnessjoy, fear, shame pride, disgust and guilt (Ekman 1992 Frijda 1986 Izard1991. Others nclude surprise There s still considerable ebate bout whethersome emotions are "basic" in an evolutionary sense Ortony and Turner 1990 Izard 1992. The specific effects of an emotion are not always obvious so many researchers onsider heir adaptive unctions within an evolutionary contextEffects of Em 0 ions and Social Processes n Bounded Rationality 265 could rely on the bonds of romantic ove. Strong emotional commitments may be the best way for the couple o achieve heir long-term goals.Emotions also solve problems of social control. Feelings of guilt and shame keep most people rom cheating even when cheating serves heir short-term n- terests Furthermore people ecognize hat f others perceive hem as cheatersthey may be denied uture opportunities In this way, guilt and shame onstrainbehavior and provide strong social constraints on respectable members of a communityIn a similar vein, feelings of fairness can deter selfish behavior The ultima- tum game provides an example In this game two individuals are typicallypaired up, and one s given a fixed sum of money o divide between hem. That individual makes n offer, and f the other accepts the money s divided between them according o that offer. If the offer is rejected both individuals receivenothing. Suppose player has $10 o divide. The rational offer is to keep $9.99for oneself and offer 1 cent o the other player. The ational esponse s to accept In fact, many people often eject such offers and act angered y the unfairness f the offer. This "irrational" response onflicts with notions of self-interest (i.e., apenny s better han nothing, isn't it?) when n fact, the response may protect hat player from future injustices n games with repeated play. Would-be playerstempted o offer sharply unequal allotments ecognize he ikelihood of the otherplayer's anger and may be deterred rom acting unfairly.  266 Barbara A. Mellers et al. (Mesquita et al. 1997. Some emotions such as disgust have undoubtedlyevolved o protect animals rom toxins. After becoming sick from a particularfood, animals are usually epulsed y the same ood on another encounter Taste aversion can occur after a single trial. Furthermore the conditioned stimulusand he unconditioned timulus need not occur ogether animals still avoid the food, even with gaps of up to 75 minutes between ood and sickness Garcia and Koelling 1966. Taste aversion can also be culturally defined. A particular ood may be a delicacy n one culture, but repulsive n anotherFear s another emotion with evolutionary mplications Animals that arefearful are more ikely to take light and escape heir predators However when they become oo fearful, they miss opportunities or survival and eproductionIt has ong been hought hat fear was nnate for example many primates whosee a snake or the irst time exhibit fearful reactions including light, facial ex-pressions ndicative offear, visual monitoring of the snake and alarm or distress calls. However recent evidence uggests hat fear also can be earned Mineka and Cook 1988.Three classes f theories have been offered o describe motions discrete di- mensional and appraisalbased Discrete heories stemming rom Darwin, pos.tulate a number of basic emotions characterized y early ontogenetic nset and universal acial expressions Dimensional heories following Wundt's example, characterize motions as values along one or more continua such as pleas. antness vs. unpleasantness restfulness vs. activation, and relaxation vs.attention The simplest version postulates a single dimension of negative and positive affect, fundamental o approach nd avoidance endencies More com plex versions have hree or more dimensions The hird class of theories are ap praisal-based approaches s pioneered by Arnold (1962 and Lazarus 1968. They assert hat emotions are elicited by a cognitive, but not necessarily on.scious or controlled, evaluation of antecedent onditions For example the componentprocess heory (Scherer 1984 predicts hat the organism uses a limited number of evaluation checks on the stimulus (novelty, intrinsic pleasantnessgoal conduciveness coping potential, and comparability of standards to moni- tor events n the environment Emotions are part of this appraisal rocess Angeris produced y an event appraised s nterfering with goal attainment fear s pro- duced by expectations f future events hat exceed ones potential or coping,and oy is produced by achievement f a goal.Emotions and Bounded RationalityEmotions facilitate rapid, automatic and sun'ival-oriented actions Frijda(1986 argues hat emotions serve as "relevance etectors" where elevance sdetermined y an ndividual's perceptions fa situation Scherer 1984 emphasizes he role of emotions as replacements or reflexes instincts and simplestimulus-response hains hat nvolve the automatic execution of a response By
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