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Affect as a Decision-Making System of the Present

Hannah H. Chang and Michel Tuan Pham
Journal of Consumer Research
Vol. 40, No. 1 (June 2013), pp. 42-63
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.1086/668644
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/668644
Page Count: 22
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Affect as a Decision-Making System of the Present
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Abstract

A variety of empirical findings reviewed in this research support the general thesis that the affective system of judgment and decision making is inherently anchored in the present. Building on this thesis, this research advances the specific hypothesis that affective feelings are relied on more (weighted more heavily) in judgments whose outcomes and targets are closer to the present than in those whose outcomes and targets are temporally more distant. Results from five experiments show that temporal proximity (a) amplifies the relative preference for options that are affectively superior and (b) increases the effects of incidental affect on evaluations. These effects are observed when compared to a more distant future as well as to a more distant past, and (c) they appear to be linked to a greater perceived information value of affective feelings in judgments whose outcomes and targets are closer to the present. Theoretical implications are discussed.

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