A Core-Affect Model of Decision Making in Simple and Complex Tasks

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When it comes to decision making, the dominant view suggests that engaging in a detailed analytical thought process is more beneficial than deciding based on one’s feelings. However, there seems to be a tradeoff, as the complexity and amount of elements on which to base the decision increases, decisions based on affect seem to be more accurate than decisions based on a thorough analytical process in specific contexts. In those last cases, an affective modulation of memory may help to make better decisions in complex tasks that exceed human’s limited cognitive capacities. Some dual process accounts, ‘‘deliberation-without-attention’’ hypothesis (Dijksterhuis et al., 2006), oppose a cognitive (i.e., conscious) route to an affective (i.e., unconscious) route. Since most dual process accounts suggest one type of process is better than the other, the interaction and integration of affective and more conscious analytical processes in decision making have been understudied. To address this issue, we propose an explanation of the dynamics and interaction of cognitive (i.e., explicit) and affective (i.e., implicit) encoding and retrieval of elements in memory, using a unified theory based on core affect (Russell, 2003), in the shape of a cognitive model in the ACT-R cognitive architecture.

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