Positive Affect, Mood Salience, and Intertemporal Decisions
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The focus of this thesis is to explore the impact of positive affective state and mood salience on intertemporal decision making. We found that positive affect significantly influence intertemporal preference. We also found that when current mood becomes salient to the decision maker, the direction of preference changes. Specifically, we hypothesized and found that individuals with positive mood are more likely to choose the later larger (long term) rewards than the individuals with a neutral mood. We discuss three factors that could explain choice behaviour in such situations. These factors are the willingness to maintain positive mood, temporal orientation and risk perception, and increase in the level of dopamine in brain. Moreover, our results indicate that when current positive mood is salient, individuals become more concerned about their affective state, and are more likely to engage in affect regulation, and as a result, more likely to prefer the sooner smaller (immediate) rewards. These findings suggest that experiencing positive affect would increase patience and self-control. However, this is the case when the level of mood salience is not high. When individuals’ attention is directed to their emotional states, they tend to choose sooner smaller rewards that could assist them in keeping their good mood and avoiding negative feelings.