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Publications in Psychophysiology by NOMIS researchers

NOMIS Researcher(s)

Published in

August 1, 2021

Influential theories posit that bodily responses are important for decision-making under uncertainty. However, the evidence of the role of our ability to perceive subtle bodily changes (interoception) in decision-making under uncertainty is mixed. These differences may arise from the fact that uncertainty, a part of daily decision-making, can be fractionated into risk (known probabilities) and ambiguity (unknown probabilities). Here we examine the role of arousal and interoception in shaping risky and ambiguous decisions. We measured skin conductance responses and heart rate changes while participants (N = 40) made gambling decisions in the context of risky and ambiguous lotteries. Results reveal that the anticipation phase produced the largest arousal responses, suggesting that the anticipation is a major contributor to arousal during gambling behavior, regardless of the uncertainty type. Moreover, physiological responses were higher following positive outcomes than negative outcomes. We did not find any direct relation between interoceptive dimensions and the attitudes toward risk and ambiguity. However, in those with higher interoceptive accuracy, skin conductance responses differentiated between risk and ambiguity as well as between the gamble phases (decision, anticipation, and outcome). Together, our findings demonstrate that decision-making under uncertainty is to some extent associated with individual differences in the ability both to generate and to perceive accurately subtle changes in bodily arousal during the decision-making process. However, these changes seem to be moderately related to the type of uncertainty (risk or ambiguity).

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences, Experimental Psychology