Affect regulation and temporal discounting: interactions between primed, state, and trait affect

Emotion. 2011 Apr;11(2):403-12. doi: 10.1037/a0021777.


Previous research has largely focused on the influence of experienced affect on decision making; however, other sources of affective information may also shape decisions. In two studies, we examine the interacting influences of affective information, state affect, and personality on temporal discounting rates (i.e., the tendency to choose small rewards today rather than larger rewards in the future). In Study 1, participants were primed with either positive or negative affect adjectives before making reward choices. In Study 2, participants underwent either a positive or negative affect induction before making reward choices. Results in both studies indicate that neuroticism interacts with state unpleasant affect and condition (i.e., positive or negative primes or induction) to predict discounting rates. Moreover, the nature of the interactions depends on the regulatory cues of the affective information available. These results suggest that irrelevant (i.e., primes) and stable (i.e., personality traits) sources of affective information also shape judgments and decision making. Thus, current affect levels are not the only source of affective information that guides individuals when making decisions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Affect*
  • Choice Behavior
  • Decision Making*
  • Emotional Intelligence*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality
  • Reward
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult