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Temptation in economic decision making: effects of immediate reward and reward-cues

Authors Woelbert E, Goebel R

Received 1 December 2012

Accepted for publication 17 January 2013

Published 16 March 2013 Volume 2013:2 Pages 11—19


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Eva Woelbert, Rainer Goebel

Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Abstract: Immediate exposure to reward or reward-predicting stimuli (cues) influences behavior. For example, chips placed right in front of us are likely to get eaten even if we wish to lose weight or don't actually like chips so much. In this paper we review evidence that shows that immediate exposure to reward and the presence of reward-cues can change economic behavior across various decision domains. Reward cues lead to less patient intertemporal choice, seem to increase risk aversion, and bias consumer choice. This may explain various, at first glance very different, behavioral phenomena, such as dynamic inconsistency, the certainty effect, and the endowment effect. We suggest that immediacy in time, certainty, and physical possession all create immediacy to a rewarding outcome that might bias choice in a similar way as other reward-predicting stimuli.

immediacy, certainty, proximity, valuation, choice, Pavlovian cues

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