chapter  11
20 Pages

Some Factors Influencing Decision-Making Strategy and Risk Taking and Gary Nowicki

WithAlice M. Isen, Barbara Means, Robert Patrick

The work to be discussed here deals with the impact of a positive feeling state on the way in which a person goes about making a decision and on the way in which the person responds to risk. This work evolved out of research on the influence of positive affect on social interaction, particularly altruistic or helping behavior. From the earliest, studies that had found that positive affect led to increased helping also expressed concern with understanding the processes underlying this relationship-understanding why and by what means feeling good oneself should lead one to be more generous and helpful to others (e.g., Berkowitz, 1972; Isen, 1970; Isen & Levin, 1972). Using a formulation compatible with that of other work in the area, which had conceptualized helping in emergencies as the prod­ uct of a decision-making process (Darley & Latane, 1970; Piliavin, Rodin, & Piliavin, 1969), one of these papers suggested that positive affect might have its observed impact on social behavior by influencing this decision-making process (Isen & Levin, 1972). Thus, interest in the processes by which happiness leads to helping produced studies of the influence of affect on decision making and other cognitive processes.