The effect of prosody on decision making
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Psychology Undergraduate Research Theses; 2016
This study sought to induce mood through affective prosody and then measure whether this had a significant effect on decision making. Prosody can be defined as tone, rate, or stress patterns that occur during speech. Prosody, when used to convey emotion, is termed affective prosody. Prior research suggests that mood is a viable predictor of performance on risky decision making tasks. More specifically, positive mood has been linked with heuristic processing, which relies on emotional reasoning. Initially, individuals feel more averse to losses and more pleased with wins, leading to more advantageous decision making. Negative emotion has been linked with substantive/systematic processing; individuals tend to exhibit more disadvantageous decision making initially in an effort to determine the most favorable outcome. This study investigated whether affective prosody alone could directly induce mood and thereby alter performance on an unrelated decision making task. This study utilized the Hungry Donkey Task, which is adapted for use with both children and adults to measure risk taking. It was hypothesized that adults induced with positive affective prosody would make more favorable decisions in early trials, while those induced with negative affective prosody would make riskier decisions initially. Mood was successfully induced with affective prosody such that participants in the positive condition reported more positive self-report mood than the negative condition. Results do not support the hypothesis; rather display negative affective prosody as eliciting better decision making in both the early and later trials. This may be a result of the positive condition relying on heuristic processing, which may have led to less advantageous decisions. This study helps build a greater understanding of the effects of mood on risky decision making and lends support to the claim that affective prosody can serve as an influencing factor in others’ behavior.
MPA Regional Research Award
Academic Major: Psychology
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