Daniel Västfjäll

Daniel Västfjäll
Linköping University | LiU · Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning (IBL)

PhD

About

274
Publications
189,271
Reads
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9,998
Citations
Additional affiliations
February 2011 - present
Position
  • Linköping University
February 2011 - present
Linköping University
Position
  • Professor (Full)
March 2005 - present
Decision Research
Decision Research
Education
August 1998 - September 2002
University of Gothenburg
Field of study
  • Psychology
August 1997 - May 2003
Chalmers University of Technology
Field of study
  • Acoustics
August 1994 - June 1997
University of Gothenburg
Field of study
  • Psychology

Publications

Publications (274)
Article
Full-text available
Research has demonstrated that two types of affect have an influence on judgment and decision making: incidental affect (affect unrelated to a judgment or decision such as a mood) and integral affect (affect that is part of the perceiver’s internal representation of the option or target under consideration). So far, these two lines of research have...
Article
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In a great many situations where we are asked to aid persons whose lives are endangered, we are not able to help everyone. What are the emotional and motivational consequences of "not helping all"? In a series of experiments, we demonstrate that negative affect arising from children that could not be helped decreases the warm glow of positive feeli...
Article
Full-text available
Charitable giving in 2013 exceeded $300 billion, but why do we respond to some life-saving causes while ignoring others? In our first two studies, we demonstrated that valuation of lives is associated with affective feelings (self-reported and psychophysiological) and that a decline in compassion may begin with the second endangered life. In Study...
Article
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This article reviews research showing that music can alter peoples' moods and emotions. The so called “musical mood induction procedure” (MMIP) relies on music to produce changes in experienced affective processes. The fact that music can have this effect on subjective experience has been utilized to study the effect of mood on cognitive processes...
Article
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Rand et al. reported increased cooperation in social dilemmas after forcing individuals to decide quickly. Time pressure was used to induce intuitive decisions, and they concluded that intuition promotes cooperation. We test the robustness of this finding in a series of five experiments involving about 2,500 subjects in three countries. None of the...
Article
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People believe they should consider how their behavior might negatively impact other people, yet their behavior often increases others’ health risks. This creates challenges for managing public health crises like the Covid-19 pandemic. We examined a procedure wherein people reflect on their personal criteria regarding how their behavior impacts oth...
Article
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Moral spillover occurs when a morally loaded behavior becomes associated with another source. In the current paper, we addressed whether the moral motive behind causing CO2 emissions spills over on how much people think is needed to compensate for the emissions. Reforestation (planting trees) is a common carbon-offset technique. With this in mind,...
Article
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Background Religion is an important ingroup characteristic for many people. For different reasons, people with different religious affiliations might prefer members of their religious outgroup. Previous studies have investigated perceptions of and behaviour toward religious ingroup and outgroup members in various contexts. The four studies presente...
Article
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Background During the COVID-19 pandemic, the world witnessed a partisan segregation of beliefs toward the global health crisis and its management. Politically motivated reasoning, the tendency to interpret information in accordance with individual motives to protect valued beliefs rather than objectively considering the facts, could represent a key...
Article
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Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, media and policymakers openly speculated about the number of immune citizens needed to reach a herd immunity threshold. What are the effects of such numerical goals on the willingness to vaccinate? In a large representative sample (N = 1540) of unvaccinated Swedish citizens, we find that giving a low (60%) compared...
Article
Full-text available
At the beginning of 2020, COVID-19 became a global problem. Despite all the efforts to emphasize the relevance of preventive measures, not everyone adhered to them. Thus, learning more about the characteristics determining attitudinal and behavioral responses to the pandemic is crucial to improving future interventions. In this study, we applied ma...
Article
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Compassion collapse is a phenomenon where feelings and helping behavior decrease as the number of needy increases. But what are the underlying mechanisms for compassion collapse? Previous research has attempted to pit two explanations: Limitations of the feeling system vs. motivated down-regulation of emotion, against each other. In this article, w...
Article
Full-text available
Affective experience has an important role in decision-making with recent theories suggesting a modulatory role of affect in ongoing subjective value computations. However, it is unclear how varying expectations and uncertainty dynamically influence affective experience and how dynamic representation of affect modulates risky choices. Using hierarc...
Preprint
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The better-than-average effect refers to the tendency to rate oneself as better than the average person on desirable traits and skills. In a classic study, Svenson (1981) asked participants to rate their driving safety and skill compared to other participants in the experiment. Results showed that the majority of participants rated themselves as fa...
Preprint
Full-text available
The better-than-average effect refers to the tendency to rate oneself as better than the average person on desirable traits and skills. In a classic study, Svenson (1981) asked participants to rate their driving safety and skill compared to other participants in the experiment. Results showed that the majority of participants rated themselves as fa...
Article
Did the outbreak of COVID‐19 influence spontaneous donation behavior? To investigate this, we conducted a natural experiment on real donation data. We analyzed the absolute amount, and the proportion of total payments, donated by individuals to charitable organizations via Swish—a widely used mobile online payment application through which most Swe...
Article
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What is the effect of seemingly impressive verbal financial assertions that are presented as true and meaningful but are actually meaningless; that is, financial pseudo-profound bullshit? We develop and validate a novel measurement scale to assess consumers’ ability to detect and distinguish financial bullshit. We show that this financial bullshit...
Article
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We study the effects of experimental manipulation of decision mode (rational "brain" vs. affective "heart") and individual difference in processing styles (intuition vs. deliberation) on prosocial behavior. In a survey experiment with a diverse sample of the Swedish population (n = 1,828), we elicited the individuals' processing style and we experi...
Article
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Changing collective behaviour and supporting non-pharmaceutical interventions is an important component in mitigating virus transmission during a pandemic. In a large international collaboration (Study 1, N = 49,968 across 67 countries), we investigated self-reported factors associated with public health behaviours (e.g., spatial distancing and str...
Article
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Political polarization impeded public support for policies to reduce the spread of COVID-19, much as polarization hinders responses to other contemporary challenges. Unlike previous theory and research that focused on the United States, the present research examined the effects of political elite cues and affective polarization on support for polic...
Article
Can deliberation increase charitable giving when giving is impulsive (i.e., a one-time small gift in response to an immediate appeal)? We conduct two studies in Israel and Sweden to compare two forms of deliberation, unguided and guided, in their ability to decrease the singularity effect (i.e., giving more to one than many victims), often evident...
Article
Full-text available
Can deliberation increase charitable giving when giving is impulsive (i.e., a one-time small gift in response to an immediate appeal)? We conduct two studies in Israel and Sweden to compare two forms of deliberation, unguided and guided, in their ability to decrease the singularity effect (i.e., giving more to one than many victims), often evident...
Article
Full-text available
Are people more likely to (mis)interpret information so that it aligns with their ideological identity when relying on feelings compared to when engaging in analytical thinking? Or is it the other way around: Does deliberation increase the propensity to (mis)interpret information to confirm existing political views? In a behavioral experiment, part...
Article
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Affect is a continuous and temporally dependent process that represents an individual's ongoing relationship with its environment. However, there is a lack of evidence on how factors defining the dynamic sensory environment modulate changes in momentary affective experience. Here, we show that goal-dependent relevance of stimuli is a key factor sha...
Article
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Understanding why women display less financial literacy than men is crucial for developing policies to reduce gender inequalities and improve women's financial behavior. In a series of studies, we investigate whether the observed gender gap in financial literacy can be identified in nonnumerical contexts, if it can be related to confidence in finan...
Article
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Is the identifiable victim effect (IVE; helping a single identified victim more than a statistical victim) stronger for child victims than adult victims? In this paper, we test the effect of identifying a victim and whether that victim is a child or adult on helping motivation and donation behaviors. In three studies (N = 1508) with different sampl...
Preprint
Since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, media and policy makers have speculated about herd immunity and the threshold for numbers of immune citizens needed for reaching it. What are the effects of such numerical goals on willingness to vaccinate? In a large representative sample of unvaccinated Swedes we find that giving a low (60%) compared...
Preprint
Full-text available
Affective experience has an important role in decision-making with recent theories suggesting a modulatory role of affect in ongoing subjective value computations. However, it is unclear how varying expectations and uncertainty dynamically influence affective experience and how dynamic representation of affect modulates risky choices. Using hierarc...
Article
Full-text available
Motivated numeracy refers to the idea that people with high reasoning capacity will use that capacity selectively to process information in a manner that protects their own valued beliefs. This concept was introduced in a now classic article by Kahan, Peters, Dawson, & Slovic [2017, Behavioral Public Policy 1, 54–86], who used numeracy to index rea...
Article
This study investigated the neural correlates of the so-called “affect heuristic,” which refers to the phenomenon whereby individuals tend to rely on affective states rather than rational deliberation of utility and probabilities during judgments of risk and utility of a given event or scenario. The study sought to explore whether there are shared...
Article
Full-text available
Previous studies show that spending money on others makes people happier than spending it on themselves. The present study tested and extended this idea by examining the role of active versus passive choice and default choices. Here, 788 participants played and won money in a game, from which some of the earnings could be donated to charity. Partic...
Article
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Outcome editing refers to a set of mental rules that people apply when deciding whether to evaluate multiple outcomes jointly or separately, which subsequently affects choice. In a large-scale online survey (n=2062) we investigate whether individuals use the same outcome editing rules for financial outcomes (e.g., a lottery win) and social outcomes...
Article
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We investigate the antecedents of subjective financial well-being and general well-being during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In an online survey conducted in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic with over 1000 Swedish participants we found that distrust in the government to cope with financial (but not healthcare) challenges of the pandemic was negativ...
Article
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Knowing the descriptive norm concerning others' prosociality could affect your behavior, but would you seek out or avoid such knowledge? This high‐powered preregistered experiment explores the effect of both forced and optionally revealed descriptive norms on real monetary donations. These norms were established by learning the proportion of previo...
Article
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Decision-making competence is a skill that is associated with numerous positive life outcomes. Even though multiple cognitive abilities have been shown to predict decision-making competence, few studies have incorporated a large test battery tapping into several cognitive abilities concurrently in the same models. The current paper presents a study...
Article
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Affect fluctuates in a moment-to-moment fashion, reflecting the continuous relationship between the individual and the environment. Despite substantial research, there remain important open questions regarding how a stream of sensory input is dynamically represented in experienced affect. Here, approaching affect as a temporally dependent process,...
Article
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We studied the association of individual differences in objective financial knowledge (i.e. competence), subjective financial knowledge (i.e. confidence), numeric ability, and cognitive reflection on a broad set of financial behaviors and feelings towards financial matters. We used a large diverse sample (N = 2063) of the adult Swedish population....
Article
Full-text available
At the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak we conducted two surveys in the United Kingdom and Sweden (N=2021) regarding how people assess the near future economic situation within their household, nation, and the world. Together with psychological factors related to information processing we link these prospects to financial well-being. We find that, al...
Article
Full-text available
We replicate and extend unit asking-a method to increase donations by first asking donors for their willingness to donate for one unit and then asking for donations for multiple units (Hsee, Zhang & Xu, 2013) We conducted a large scale replication and extension using a 2 (unit asking, control) x 3 (domains; children (original), animals, environment...
Article
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It has been suggested that volunteering leads to increases in well-being, particularly in older and retiring adults, and that volunteering could be used as a public health intervention to increase well-being. However, the causal relationship has been questioned. We investigated the association between voluntary work and life satisfaction in a bivar...
Preprint
Full-text available
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a devastating global health crisis. Without a vaccine or effective medication, the best hope for mitigating virus transmission is collective behavior change and support for public health interventions (e.g., physical distancing, physical hygiene, and endorsement of health policies). In a large-scale international co...
Article
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Significance Two surveys of United States public opinion found that support for killing enemy civilians and combatants disproportionately with nuclear or conventional weapons was deeply divided along partisan political lines. Those approving such excessively lethal attacks tended to be Republican and conservative. They felt socially distant from th...
Article
Full-text available
This paper asks whether moral preferences in eight medical dilemmas change as a function of how preferences are expressed, and how people choose when they are faced with two equally attractive help projects. In two large-scale studies, participants first read dilemmas where they "matched" two suggested helping projects (which varied on a single att...
Chapter
In this chapter, we discuss the psychological aspects of financial decisions related to charitable giving. We argue that affect plays a central role in driving charitable decisions. In our selective review, we explore two psychological phenomena that are based on affect: compassion fade and pseudoinefficacy. The first phenomenon may be regarded as...
Preprint
Previous studies show that spending money on other people makes people happier than spending it on whatever they want. This study tested and extended this by examining the role of active versus passive choice and default choices. 788 participants played and won money in a game, from which some of the earnings could be donated to charity. Participan...
Article
Full-text available
The reliance on feelings when judging risks and benefits is one of the most fundamental valuation processes in risk perception. Although previous research suggests that the affect heuristic reliably predicts an inverse correlation between risk and benefit judgments, it has not yet been tested if the affect heuristic is sensitive to elicitation meth...
Preprint
Full-text available
Note: This is a pre-print version of the paper. There may be minor changes in the published version. Abstract: We present evidence from a pre-registered experiment indicating that a philosophical argument-a type of rational appeal-can persuade people to make charitable donations. The rational appeal we used follows Singer's well-known "shallow po...
Article
Full-text available
To be able to implement nudges in an effective and ethically defensible manner, it is important to understand why some persons find nudges objectionable. Drawing on moral foundations theory, we investigated the moral roots of attitudes to pro-self nudges (which benefit the agent) and pro-social nudges (which benefit society). This registered report...
Article
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People may act differently in public environments due to actual reputation concerns, or due to the mere presence of others. Unlike previous studies on the influence of observability on prosocial behavior we control for the latter while manipulating the former, i.e. we control for implicit reputation concerns while manipulating explicit. We show tha...
Article
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Executive functions consist of three separable but correlated functions; inhibition, working memory, and shifting. Here we use an extensive and validated battery of objective performance measures of executive functions and intelligence to investigate if individual differences in these cognitive abilities can explain sound financial behavior and sub...
Preprint
Full-text available
At the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak we conducted a survey (n=1000) regarding how people assess the near future economic situation within their household, nation, and the world. Together with psychological factors related to information processing we link these prospects to financial well-being. We find that, although generally very pessimistic, a...
Article
Full-text available
Moral foundations theory proposes that intuitions about what is morally right or wrong rest upon a set of universal foundations. Although this theory has generated a recent surge of research, few studies have investigated the real‐world moral consequences of the postulated moral intuitions. We show that they are predictably associated with an impor...
Article
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The hypothesis that intuition promotes cooperation has attracted considerable attention. Although key results in this literature have failed to replicate in pre-registered studies, recent meta-analyses report an overall effect of intuition on cooperation. We address the question with a meta-analysis of 82 cooperation experiments, spanning four diff...
Article
Full-text available
Do people consider alternative uses of money (i.e., opportunity cost) when asked to donate to a charitable cause? To answer this question, we examined the effect of providing versus not providing participants with an opportunity cost reminder when they are asked to donate money to causes with identified and non-identified victims. The results of tw...