Waves of regret: A MEG study of emotion and decision-making
Number of pages
SourceNeuropsychologia, 51, 1, (2013), pp. 38-51
Article / Letter to editor
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PI Group Decision Neuroscience
SW OZ BSI SCP
F.C. Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
Subject140 000 Decision neuroscience; Behaviour Change and Well-being
Recent fMRI studies have investigated brain activity involved in the feeling of regret and disappointment by manipulating the feedback participants saw after making a decision to play certain gambles: full-feedback (regret: participant sees the outcomes from both the chosen and unchosen gamble) vs. partial-feedback (disappointment: participant only sees the outcome from chosen gamble). However, regret and disappointment are also characterized by differential agency attribution: personal agency for regret, external agency for disappointment. In this study, we investigate the neural correlates of these two characterizations of regret and disappointment using magnetoencephalography (MEG). To do this, we experimentally induced each emotion by manipulating feedback (chosen gamble vs. unchosen gamble), agency (human vs. computer choice) and outcomes (win vs. loss) in a fully randomized design. At the behavioral level the emotional experience of regret and disappointment were indeed affected by both feedback and agency manipulations. These emotions also differentially affect subsequent choices, with regret leading to riskier behavior. At the neural level both feedback and agency affected the brain responses associated with regret and disappointment, demonstrating differential localization in the brain for each. Notably, feedback regret showed greater brain activity in the right anterior and posterior regions, with agency regret producing greater activity in the left anterior region. These findings extend the evidence for neural activity in processing both regret and disappointment by highlighting for the first time the respective importance of feedback and agency, as well as outlining the temporal dynamics of these emotions.
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