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Heart versus head: Differential bodily feedback causally alters economic decision-making

Powell, PA; Puustinen-Hopper, K; de Jode, M; Mavros, P; Roberts, J; (2018) Heart versus head: Differential bodily feedback causally alters economic decision-making. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology , 71 (9) pp. 1949-1959. 10.1080/17470218.2017.1373359. Green open access

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Abstract

Metaphorically, altruistic acts, such as monetary donations, are said to be driven by the heart, whereas sound financial investments are guided by reason, embodied by the head. In a unique experiment, we tested the effects of these bodily metaphors using biofeedback and an incentivized economic decision-making paradigm. Participants played a repeated investment game with a simulated partner, alternating between tactical investor and altruistic investee. When making decisions, participants received counterbalanced visual feedback from their own or a simulated partner’s heart or head, as well as no feedback. As investor, participants transferred a greater proportion of their endowments when exposed to visual feedback from their own head than to feedback from their own heart or no feedback at all. These effects were not observed when the source of the feedback was the simulated partner. As investee, heart feedback predicted greater altruistic returns than head or no feedback, but this effect did not differ based on source (own vs partner). Consistent with a dual-process framework, we suggest that people may be encouraged to invest more or be more altruistic when receiving bodily feedback from conceptually diametric sources.

Type: Article
Title: Heart versus head: Differential bodily feedback causally alters economic decision-making
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/17470218.2017.1373359
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2017.1373359
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Social Sciences, Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Psychology, Biological, Physiology, Psychology, Psychology, Experimental, Altruism, biofeedback, decision-making, economic game, embodied metaphor, investment, SELF, REGRESSION, TRUST, EMPATHY, REQUEST, GAMES
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10072084
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