Deciding Fast and Slow : How Intuitive and Reflective Thinking Influence Decision Making

University dissertation from Linköping : Linköping University Electronic Press

Abstract: Paper I “Intuition and cooperation reconsidered”: Does intuition make people more cooperative? Rand et al. (Rand, Greene, & Nowak, 2012) reported increased cooperation in social dilemmas after forcing individuals to decide quickly. We test the robustness of this finding in a series of five experiments involving about 2,500 subjects in three countries. None of the experiments confirms the Rand et al. (2012) finding, indicating that their result was an artefact of excluding about 50% of the subjects who failed to respond on time.Paper II “Intuition and moral decision-making – the effect of time pressure and cognitive load on moral judgment and altruistic behavior”: Do individuals intuitively favor certain moral actions over others? This study explores the role of intuitive thinking — induced by time pressure and cognitive load — in moral judgment and behavior. Overall we find converging evidence that intuitive states do not influence moral decisions. Across all samples and decision tasks men were more likely to make utilitarian moral judgments and act selfishly compared to women, providing further evidence that there are robust gender differences in moral decision-making.Paper III “Public views on policies involving nudges”: When should nudging be deemed as permissible and when should it be deemed as intrusive to individuals’ freedom of choice? The main objective of this study is to elicit public views on the use of nudges in policy. In particular we investigate attitudes toward two broad categories of nudges that we label pro-self (i.e. focusing on private welfare) and pro-social (i.e. focusing on social welfare) nudges. Results show that the level of acceptance toward nudge-policies was generally high. Nudge polices classified as pro-social had a significantly lower acceptance rate compared to pro-self nudges.Paper IV “The effect of fast and slow decisions on financial risk-taking”: Are individuals financial risk taking influenced by time available? We experimentally compare fast and slow decisions in a series of experiments on financial risk taking in three countries involving over 1,700 subjects. We find that time pressure increases risk aversion for gains and risk taking for losses compared to time delay; implying that time pressure increase the reflection effect of Prospect Theory.Paper V “Incidental effect and financial risk-taking – a neural investigation: This study builds on the results from Paper IV. Here I explore the influence of incidental negative emotions on financial risk-taking in an fMRI environment in order to assess underlying neural mechanisms. I experimentally compare neutral and unpleasant valence framing on gambles involving pure monetary gain and pure monetary loss. I find a significantly increased BOLD response in left amygdala and bilateral visual cortex when contrasting when showing unpleasant pictures, a neural effect which is in line with previous neuroimaging studies on negative emotions. However the neural effect of showing unpleasant pictures did not affect choices in the risk tasks. Consequently, I did not find any support for the hypothesis that the reflection effect of Prospect theory should be more pronounced when making risky choices influenced by incidental negative emotions.

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