Temptation in economic decision making: effects of immediate reward and reward-cues
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.
Keywords: immediacy, certainty, proximity, valuation, choice, Pavlovian cues
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