Affective response to a lottery prize moderates processing of payoffs and probabilities: An eye-tracking study

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Abstract

Expected utility theory posits that our preferences for gambles result from the weighting of utilities of monetary payoffs by their probabilities. However, recent studies have shown that combining payoffs and probabilities is often distorted by affective responses. In the current study, we hypothesized that affective response to a lottery prize moderates processing of payoffs and probabilities. Attentional engagement (measured by the number of fixations in the eye tracking experiment) was predicted by probability, value of an outcome, and their interaction, but only for affect-poor lottery tickets. A corresponding pattern of results was not observed in affect-rich lottery tickets, suggesting more simplified processing of such lotteries.

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