Social and Emotional Factors in Decision-Making: Appraisal and Value

Elizabeth A. Phelps, Peter Sokol-Hessner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter highlights how emotional and social factors can influence the appraisal of the choice options in altering the decision and its underlying neural representation. Emotion is a broad concept that is thought to represent a range of component affective processes. One of the traditional techniques used in affective science to introduce an affective component into a task is mood induction. Other means to examine the role of emotion in decisions is to measure and quantify emotional reactions and relate those measurements to other observable aspects of the decision task. One commonly used physiological response is the skin conductance response (SCR), an indication of autonomic nervous system arousal. Using SCR, one of the first studies to make the case for arousal as a component of subjective value examined patients with damage to the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) in the performance of a risky gambling task. The insular cortex is a region implicated in a broad range of mental processes, including affective responses in a social context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNeuroscience of Preference and Choice
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9780123814319
StatePublished - 2012


  • Appraisal
  • Arousal
  • Decision-making
  • Emotion
  • Social factors
  • Social group

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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