Brain, emotion and decision making: The paradigmatic example of regret

Neuropsychology Group, Institut des Sciences Cognitives, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 67 Boulevard Pinel, 69675 Bron, France.
Trends in Cognitive Sciences (Impact Factor: 21.97). 07/2007; 11(6):258-65. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2007.04.003
Source: PubMed


Human decisions cannot be explained solely by rational imperatives but are strongly influenced by emotion. Theoretical and behavioral studies provide a sound empirical basis to the impact of the emotion of regret in guiding choice behavior. Recent neuropsychological and neuroimaging data have stressed the fundamental role of the orbitofrontal cortex in mediating the experience of regret. Functional magnetic resonance imaging data indicate that reactivation of activity within the orbitofrontal cortex and amygdala occurring during the phase of choice, when the brain is anticipating possible future consequences of decisions, characterizes the anticipation of regret. In turn, these patterns reflect learning based on cumulative emotional experience. Moreover, affective consequences can induce specific mechanisms of cognitive control of the choice processes, involving reinforcement or avoidance of the experienced behavior.

Download full-text


Available from: Angela Sirigu, Oct 29, 2014
  • Source
    • "When exploring a higher cognitive level of information processing (i.e., the generation of counterfactually derived inferences) in our " bottom-up " experimental design, we obtained results suggesting that schizophrenia patients do not follow the normative counterfactual reasoning pattern: they less frequently selected a regretful reaction in response to an " unusual " event or a judgement-related reaction in response to a " nearly happened " event. Among emotions related to CFT, the experience of regret may have an adaptive function because it can guide future decisions, based on information gathered from the outcome of previous choices [45,46]. Whereas in the normal population, most people react with greater regret to an unusual event, the reaction of the schizophrenia patients in our study was the same regardless of whether the event was usual or unusual. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: Counterfactual thinking is a specific type of conditional reasoning that enables the generation of mental simulations of alternatives to past factual events. Although it has been broadly studied in the general population, research on schizophrenia is still scarce. The aim of the current study was to further examine counterfactual reasoning in this illness. Methods: Forty schizophrenia patients and 40 controls completed a series of tests that assessed the influence of the "causal order effect" on counterfactual thinking, and the ability to generate counterfactual thoughts and counterfactually derive inferences from a hypothetical situation. Socio-demographic and clinical characteristics, as well as neurocognitive variables, were also examined. Results: Compared to controls, the schizophrenia patients generated fewer counterfactual thoughts when faced with a simulated scenario. The pattern of response when assessing the causality effect of the order was also different between the groups, with the patients being more frequently unable to attribute any ordering of events than the control subjects. Additionally, the schizophrenia patients showed more difficulties when deriving normative counterfactual inferences from hypothetical social situations. None of the counterfactual reasoning measures was associated to any of the cognitive functions or clinical and socio-demographic variables assessed. Conclusions: A global impairment in counterfactual thinking characterizes schizophrenia patients. Because of the potential impact of such deficits on psychosocial functioning, targeting counterfactual reasoning for improvement might be considered in future treatment approaches.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2016 · PLoS ONE
  • Source
    • "In addition, in his bestseller, Kahneman (2011) quotes two Dutch psychologists about regret who noted that regret is " accompanied by feelings that one should have known better, by a sinking feeling, by thoughts about the mistake one has made and the opportunities lost, by a tendency to kick oneself and to correct one's mistake, and by wanting to undo the event and to get a second chance. " 3 " Functional magnetic resonance imaging data indicate that reactivation of activity within the Orbitofrontal Cortex Andamygdala occurring during the phase of choice, when the brain is anticipating possible future consequences of decisions, characterizes the anticipation of regret " (see Coricelli et al., 2007). "
    [Show description] [Hide description]
    DESCRIPTION: An application of ex-post individual rationality constraints on market mechanisms like the double auction
    Full-text · Research · Dec 2015
  • Source
    • "ents in expectation - based regulation of emotions and behavior ( Mellers et al . , 1997 ; Sutton and Barto , 1998 ; Levens et al . , 2014 ) . This is generally consistent with the role of vmPFC / mOFC in the top - down modulation of emotional responses by ascribing affective meaning to the sensory information processed in the amygdaloid complex ( Coricelli et al . , 2007 ; Canessa et al . , 2009 ; Kim et al . , 2011 ; Zalla and Sperduti , 2013 ) . Taken together , these networks provide a basis for the diverse emotional and evaluative processing required during counterfactual thought ."
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Counterfactual reasoning is a hallmark of human thought, enabling the capacity to shift from perceiving the immediate environment to an alternative, imagined perspective. Mental representations of counterfactual possibilities (e.g., imagined past events or future outcomes not yet at hand) provide the basis for learning from past experience, enable planning and prediction, support creativity and insight, and give rise to emotions and social attributions (e.g., regret and blame). Yet remarkably little is known about the psychological and neural foundations of counterfactual reasoning. In this review, we survey recent findings from psychology and neuroscience indicating that counterfactual thought depends on an integrative network of systems for affective processing, mental simulation, and cognitive control. We review evidence to elucidate how these mechanisms are systematically altered through psychiatric illness and neurological disease. We propose that counterfactual thinking depends on the coordination of multiple information processing systems that together enable adaptive behavior and goal-directed decision making and make recommendations for the study of counterfactual inference in health, aging, and disease.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
Show more