Important decisions are often made under some degree of stress. It is now well-established that acute stress affects preferences and priorities in our decisions. However, it is hard to make a general case on the net impact of stress on decision-making quality in a normative sense as evidence for or against a direct effect of stress on decision-making quality is sparse. Here, we used the revealed preference framework of choice consistency to investigate decision-making quality without the assumption of an objectively correct choice. Specifically, we tested whether acute stress influences choice consistency in a time dependent fashion. A sample of 144 participants solved a food choice task before, immediately after and in the aftermath of the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) or a matched control procedure. We confirmed the effectiveness of our stress manipulation via an array of subjective and physiological stress measures. Using Bayesian statistics, we found strong evidence against an effect of acute stress on choice consistency. However, we found exploratory evidence for a negative association of self-reported chronic stress and choice consistency. We discuss our results in the context of previous findings of stress effects on choice consistency and preference changes.

The effects of acute and chronic stress on choice consistency

Sellitto, Manuela;
2021-01-01

Abstract

Important decisions are often made under some degree of stress. It is now well-established that acute stress affects preferences and priorities in our decisions. However, it is hard to make a general case on the net impact of stress on decision-making quality in a normative sense as evidence for or against a direct effect of stress on decision-making quality is sparse. Here, we used the revealed preference framework of choice consistency to investigate decision-making quality without the assumption of an objectively correct choice. Specifically, we tested whether acute stress influences choice consistency in a time dependent fashion. A sample of 144 participants solved a food choice task before, immediately after and in the aftermath of the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) or a matched control procedure. We confirmed the effectiveness of our stress manipulation via an array of subjective and physiological stress measures. Using Bayesian statistics, we found strong evidence against an effect of acute stress on choice consistency. However, we found exploratory evidence for a negative association of self-reported chronic stress and choice consistency. We discuss our results in the context of previous findings of stress effects on choice consistency and preference changes.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11571/1474980
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