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How Emotions Influence Decision-making : an Interdisciplinary perspective (HEIDI) : behavioral economics and neuroscience

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- Dates : 2012 - 2014
- Budget : 220 K€
- Papers (bottom of the page)

General presentation

The HEIDI program is a basic research program supported by the National Agency for Research (ANR, “Programme Emotions and Cognition”). HEIDI aims both at producing new experimental evidence and at exchanging ideas in order to contribute to the understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying the influences of emotional and motivational processes on decision making. It started in January 2012 and will end in January 2015.

Objectives : understanding the influence of emotions on individual and social decision-making

Research on immediate emotions is key to understanding when the economic model, which assumes rational self-interested behavior, is valid and when it is not – when people behave in a self-destructive or otherwise irrational fashion. In some cases the cause of irrationality seems to be strong emotions that cause people to lose control, which means to make decisions on the basis of immediate rather than expected emotions. In other cases, however, adverse patterns of behavior can be caused by a failure to accurately anticipate future emotional states.

The goal of HEIDI is to provide an integrative account of motivational and decisional processes, combining computational modeling, human intra-cranial recordings
and functional MRI to study their effects on reward and decision making-related brain activity. The program develops a trans-disciplinary approach integrating concepts from neuroeconomics and models of value-based decision making.

Work packages

- Basic processing of unpredictable positive/negative emotions induced by rewards and punishments, and their roles in learning, individual decision-making and social decision-making
- Role of cognitive regulation on complex emotions related to value-based decision-making
- Influences of emotions on cognitive control
- Social aspects of the relationships between emotions and cognition

Members of the Consortium

The coordinator of the project is Marie Claire Villeval, Director of Research at CNRS.

3 partners are involved in the Consortium :

  • Behavioral economics team, GATE (CNRS), Lyon (Marie Claire Villeval)
  • Cognitive Neuroimaging : reward and decision making team, Cognitive Neuroscience Center (CNRS), Lyon (Jean-Claude Dreher, Hilke Plassman)

Experimental methods

HEIDI uses behavioral game theory (that results from the willingness to blend « experimental evidence and psychology in a mathematical theory of normal strategic behavior » (Camerer, 2003)), neuro-imagining (fMRI, PET), behavioral neuroscience and electrophysiological recordings, experimental economics. Studies in experimental economics use the facilities offered by the REGATE-NG software and the technological platform in experimental economics at GATE.