In the previously proposed theoretical model of emotion, emotion serves as an internal feedback to assess the disparity between the internal prediction and the actual outcomes in the external world, so that congruency between the desirable wants and needs can be met by resolving the emotions. The Emotional-Gain Model predicts that the happy emotional intensity is proportional to the magnitude of the desirable gain signals, while unhappy emotional intensity is proportional to the magnitude loss signals. Using the classical Ultimatum Game (UG) experimental paradigm to elicit self-generated emotions in response to a monetary offer, we want to determine whether the emotional responses are altered in relation to the decision to accept or reject the offer. If so, then does it change the emotional baseline level or the emotional sensitivity? The results showed that the proportionality relationship between emotional intensity and offer-ratios remains the same with respect to the acceptance or rejection decision. The only difference between the decisions is that the baseline level of happiness is shifted by 40% higher for the decisions to accept the offer, compared to the decisions that rejected the offer. The emotional baseline level is changed without changing the emotional sensitivity. This is quantified by the shift in the y-intercept of the emotional stimulus-response function. The happy emotional intensity is shifted upward (toward positive emotion) for those trials that accepted the offer, compared to those who rejected the offer. The slope of the stimulus-response function does not change with respect to the decision, indicating the constancy of the emotional sensitivity. These results validated the hypothesis that happy emotion is inter-related to the decision-making process, such that the decision to accept an offer is related to a shift towards a happier emotion, while the decision to reject an offer is associated with a shift towards an unhappier emotion. This provided the quantitative assessment of how emotion is biased in relation to the decision. The decision to accept an offer is related to a shift to the emotional baseline level rather than a change in the emotional sensitivity — without altering the proportionality relationship between happiness intensity and monetary offer-ratios in UG.
Nicoladie D. Tam,
Quantification of Happy Emotion: Dependence on Decisions, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences.
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