The affect heuristic

  title={The affect heuristic},
  author={Paul Slovic and Melissa L. Finucane and Ellen Peters and Donald G. MacGregor},
  journal={Eur. J. Oper. Res.},
This paper introduces a theoretical framework that describes the importance of affect in guiding judgments and decisions. As used here, ‘‘affect’’ means the specific quality of ‘‘goodness’’ or ‘‘badness’’ (i) experienced as a feeling state (with or without consciousness) and (ii) demarcating a positive or negative quality of a stimulus. Affective responses occur rapidly and automatically—note how quickly you sense the feelings associated with the stimulus word ‘‘treasure’’ or the word ‘‘hate… 

Figures, Tables, and Topics from this paper

Empathetic projections and affect reactions in examiners of ‘A’ level English and History
The affective element of examiner thinking is an under-researched phenomenon. This paper explores the data from a ‘think aloud’ study, discussed in relation to the literature on decision-making, in
How the Object of Affect Guides its Impact
This article examines how affect influences judgment and thought, but also how thought transforms affect, focusing on the role of the object of affect in governing both the nature of emotional reactions and the impact of affect and emotion on cognition and action.
When Do People Rely on Affective and Cognitive Feelings in Judgment? A Review
  • Rainer Greifeneder, H. Bless, M. Pham
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Personality and social psychology review : an official journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc
  • 2011
The use of feelings as information is a frequent event and a generally sensible judgmental strategy rather than a constant source of error and Avenues for future research are discussed.
Portrait of The Angry Decision Maker: How Appraisal Tendencies Shape Anger's Influence on Cognition.
This paper reviews the impact of anger on judgment and decision making. Section I proposes that anger merits special attention in the study of judgment and decision making because the effects of
A reappraisal of the uncanny valley: categorical perception or frequency-based sensitization?
The present study examined whether the negative affect associated with the UCV might be explained in terms of an individual's degree of exposure to stimuli, and found that participants' ratings of eeriness were additionally affected by exemplar frequency.
Does Affect Matter in Naturalistic Decision Making ?
Motivation Research over the past 10-15 years, however, has greatly enhanced our understanding of the ways in which affect or emotion influences how people make decisions, how they process
Yielding to desire: the durability of affective preferences.
In 6 experiments, participants read stories in which contexts informed the likelihood of events in ways that might run counter to their preferential investments in particular outcomes, and participants' affective considerations remained influential despite time allotted for predictive reflection.
Affect and Choice: A Case for the Affect Heuristic in Image Theory
The decision literature has generally viewed an individual’s choice through the lens of cognitive psychology. This perspective has been a fruitful path in many ways, but not always satisfying in
The Arithmetic of Emotion: Integration of Incidental and Integral Affect in Judgments and Decisions
Differences and similarities between integral and incidental affect are highlighted and common and unique mechanisms that enable these two types of affect to influence judgment and choices are identified.
Is Reliance on the Affect Heuristic associated with Age?
  • J. Nolte, C. Löckenhoff
  • Medicine
    The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences
  • 2021
Results suggest that the use of affect-based heuristics is context- or stimulus-dependent rather than a stable, age-associated trait, and further research is needed to validate the present results across additional domains, tasks, and stimulus types.


Representativeness, Relevance, and the Use of Feelings in Decision Making
It has been suggested that evaluations may be based on a "How-do-I-feel-about-it?" heuristic, which involves holding a representation of the target in mind and inspecting feelings that this
The affect heuristic in judgments of risks and benefits
This paper re-examines the commonly observed inverse relationship between perceived risk and perceived benefit. We propose that this relationship occurs because people rely on affect when judging the
Subliminal affective priming resists attributional interventions.
We examine two explanations of the subliminal affective priming effect. The feelings-as-information model (Schwarz & Clore, 1988) holds that judgements are based on perceptible feelings. Hence,
The Role of Affect and Worldviews as Orienting Dispositions in the Perception and Acceptance of Nuclear Power1
Recent research in risk perception has examined the role of affect and worldviews as orienting dispositions that guide people’s decisions about complex and risky topics such as nuclear energy. This
Money, Kisses, and Electric Shocks: On the Affective Psychology of Risk
It is suggested that the assumption of probability-outcome independence, adopted by both expected-utility and prospect theory, may hold across outcomes of different monetary values, but not different affective values.
The Springs of Action: Affective and Analytical Information Processing in Choice
Affective processes were predicted to play a critical role in choices among complex stimuli. As hypothesized, self-report measures of individual differences in affective information processing were
Norm theory: Comparing reality to its alternatives
A theory of norms and normality is presented and applied to some phenomena of emotional responses, social judgment, and conversations about causes. Norms are assumed to be constructed ad hoc by
Attitudinal effects of mere exposure.
The hypothesis is offered that mere repeated exposure of the individual to a stimulus object enhances his attitude toward it. By "mere" exposure is meant a condition making the stimulus accessible to
The political impact of name sounds
Phonetic symbolism has been much debated and tested. However, few statistical measures have been made in a natural social context of the emotive values in language sounds. A clear and measurable case
Risk as Feelings
It is shown that emotional reactions to risky situations often diverge from cognitive assessments of those risks, and when such divergence occurs, emotional reactions often drive behavior.