Anticipatory emotions in decision tasks: Covert markers of value or attentional processes?

Tyler Davis, Bradley C. Love, W. Todd Maddox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Anticipatory emotions precede behavioral outcomes and provide a means to infer interactions between emotional and cognitive processes. A number of theories hold that anticipatory emotions serve as inputs to the decision process and code the value or risk associated with a stimulus. We argue that current data do not unequivocally support this theory. We present an alternative theory whereby anticipatory emotions reflect the outcome of a decision process and serve to ready the subject for new information when making an uncertain response. We test these two accounts, which we refer to as emotions-as-input and emotions-as-outcome, in a task that allows risky stimuli to be dissociated from uncertain responses. We find that emotions are associated with responses as opposed to stimuli. This finding is contrary to the emotions-as-input perspective as it shows that emotions arise from decision processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-200
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Anticipatory emotions
  • Category learning
  • Emotion
  • Somatic markers
  • decision making


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