Early researches on decision making didn’t give any room to emotions. Later, Herbert Simon launched a revolution in decision theory when he introduced bounded rationality. Simon knew that his theory would be incomplete until the role of emotion was specified, thus presaging the crucial role contemporary science has begun to give emotion in decision research. Delayed discounting means that, compared with current or recent benefits (or losses), people tend to give future benefits (or losses) less weight and choose current or recent benefits (or losses). Delayed discounting is an important research direction in the field of decision-making. Researchers have explored the relationship between emotion and delayed discounting in a number of areas (e.g., investment, economic policy, health).
In the present article, we reviewed the related researches on emotion and delayed discounting. First, we summarized the researches on relations of emotion and delayed discounting, which were divided into three aspects: influence of emotional valence on delayed discounting, influence of emotional arousal on delayed discounting and influence of specific emotion on delayed discounting. Then, we reviewed the theoretical explanations of the effect of emotion on delayed discounting. Finally, the future research directions were prospected.
The research status of relation emotion with delayed discounting. Based on the emotional valence perspective, some studies have showed that positive emotions reduced the discounting rate on long-term values, and negative emotions increased the discounting rate for long-term values in delayed discounting tasks. However, the other studies showed that positive emotions increased the discounting rate of the delayed value, and negative emotions reduced the discounting rate of the delayed value. Based on the emotional arousal perspective, the studies showed that different degrees of arousal had different effects on delayed discounting. Emotion is a separable whole of a variety of ingredients, and thus emotions can be further divided into positive emotions such as pleasure, surprise, and negative emotions such as anger, sadness, disgust and fear. Different types of emotions may have different effects on delayed discounting. Some researchers were concerned about the impact of specific emotions on delayed discounting. Based on the specific emotion perspective, there were differences among the effects of different specific emotions on delayed discounting.
The theoretical explanations of the effect of emotion on delayed discounting. Affect-as-information theory (AIT) assumed that there were different emotional information for different valence emotions, which affected the individual information processing strategy. In the positive emotional state, the individuals used a top-down processing strategy. In a negative emotional state, individuals tended to adopt a bottom-up processing strategy. Motivational dimensional model of affect (MDMA) argued that the emotional motivation dimension rather than the emotional valence dimension could better predict individual behavior. The direction of emotional motivation affected the direction of the individual's behavior, and its intensity affected the individual's cognitive approach. Appraisal-tendency framework (ATF) argued that different forms of emotions had different effects on human behavior. The theory assumed that emotions were arisen from cognitive evaluation, and to promote the individual evaluating tendency to decision-making task, then to influence individual decision-making through the information processing content and depth.
The future research direction. Firstly, future research should emphasize the interaction between different factors, such as different specific emotions and individual factors, decision-making scenarios and the emotional attributes of decision-making objects, and then examine the internal mechanisms behind these interactions. Secondly, future studies should examine the neural mechanisms of the effects of specific emotions on delayed discounting. Thirdly, future studies should investigate the intervention effect for the negative impact of specific emotions on delayed discounting.|