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Some ways in which positive affect facilitates decision making


This chapter suggests two perspectives that seem capable of contributing to the development of decision-making research in the coming years: the integration of positive affect into the decision-making literature, including formal models of decision making, and the integration understandings from cognitive neuroscience into work on decision making. The chapter summarizes recent work indicating that integrating of these topics is now possible and holds promise of advancing our understanding not only of problem-solving and decision-making processes, but of affective processes as well. In doing this, the chapter reviews some of the evidence showing that positive affect promotes cognitive flexibility and thus facilitates problem solving and decision making in many situations. It calls attention to the wide array of cognitive, motivational, and behavioral processes influenced by positive affect, and suggests ways that these effects bear on decision making. The work also indicates that considering the influence of positive affect in more detail, including its impact on cognitive organization and flexibility in problem solving, holds promise of still greater advance in our understanding of decision processes. Finally, it suggests ways that consideration of possible neuropsychological concomitants of positive affect, and neuropsychological processes more generally, may provide additional tools for advancing understanding of affective, cognitive, and decision processes.


Book Chapter


Alice Isen, Aparna Labroo

Date Published



Isen, Alice, and Aparna Labroo. 2003. Some ways in which positive affect facilitates decision making.


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