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Anatomical and behavioural correlates of emotion-induced social decision-making

Eimontaite, Iveta


Iveta Eimontaite


Vinod, 1957 Goel

Kevin John Riggs


Abstract This thesis explored the behavioural and neural processes associated with the effect of sympathy and anger on socio-economic decision-making. Experiment 1 showed the defection rate decrease in sympathy and increase in anger compared to the neutral condition in the Prisoner’s Dilemma and the Trust Game. Experiment 2 revealed that block and event-related designs have the same effect on defection over the three emotion conditions in the Prisoner’s Dilemma. Experiment 3 indicated that direct, but not displaced, emotion group participants’ defection rate replicated the finding of Experiment 1. Additionally, cognitive inhibition showed a consistent pattern over three experiments; while in the Prisoner’s Dilemma low cognitive inhibition participants’ defection decreased in sympathy and increased in anger compared to neutral, high cognitive inhibitors’ defection was similar across conditions. Yet, cognitive flexibility (Experiment 3) did not affect participants’ defection rate. Similarly, Experiment 2 and Experiment 3 found that defection rate in the Prisoner’s Dilemma was modulated by expressive suppression, but not cognitive reappraisal; low expressive suppression participants were defecting more in the anger and less in the sympathy compared to the neutral condition. The fMRI analysis in Experiment 4 showed increased left amygdala activation while defecting in the sympathy condition and decreased putamen activation while cooperating in the anger condition. These areas are possibly necessary to overcome the emotion driven impulses to cooperate in the sympathy and defect in the anger conditions. Finally, Experiment 5 revealed that vmPFC patients’ accuracy decreased from neutral to emotional exclusive disjunction trials, while parietal lobe and normal controls showed a reversed pattern signifying vmPFC’s role while making decisions under emotion. The combination of these findings highlights the importance of individual difference and the role of the amygdala, putamen and prefrontal cortex in socio-economic decision-making under emotion. However, alternative interpretations cannot be ruled out without further investigation.


Eimontaite, I. (2015). Anatomical and behavioural correlates of emotion-induced social decision-making. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jan 13, 2022
Publicly Available Date Feb 24, 2023
Keywords Psychology
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Psychology, The University of Hull
Award Date Oct 1, 2015


Thesis (3.5 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2015 Eimontaite, Iveta. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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