Integrating Emotion and Rationality in Behavioral Models of Decision Making

Horacio Arló Costa

Recent experimental evidence suggests that emotions, rather than being sand in the machinery of rationality, are a condition of possibility of rational decision. The main goal of this paper is to present a model of the functional role of emotions in decision making. The offered model applies ideas first presented by Simon in 1967 to the problem of rational decision. The model is then used in order to interpret the experimental evidence and in order to suggest possible applications in knowledge representation. It is proposed that three aspects of choice require the kind of "interrupting control" hypothesized by Simon: (a) the specification of a feasible set, (b) the determination of mechanisms for picking, rather than choosing, in ties, and (c) the use and selection of heuristics. The application of normative theories of choice, which are partition-sensitive, like the one presented by Savage in 1972, require at least, the specification of the first two parameters. Emotions seem to play a fundamental role in setting those parameters, and therefore in applying normative theories of choice.

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