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Speciall Talk “Emotions and Economic Decision Making” by Professor Noussair, University of Arizona

Professor Noussair introduced experimental approaches to study effects of emotions on economic behavior.

Due to some new tools like a face reading software and Virtual Reality, a field of experimental economics has been growing in this area. Quite a few researchers are interested in this research field. Not only graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty members from Waseda University but also those from other universities listened to his talk carefully. He explained how to use these tools for measuring and inducing emotions and answered questions from the attendees sincerely. The participants also enjoyed an enthusiastic discussion that lasted for hours.

He also introduced several articles which adopt face reading software and VR. These articles cover several topics of behavioral economics, honesty, risk taking, charitable giving, and trust. All contents were very interesting and impressive.

The contents of the lecture were in two parts: methodology and application

Measurement of emotions: Some ways to measure emotions were introduced. A traditional methodology for measuring emotions is a survey research, however, a new tool, a face reading software has been induced recently. Induction of emotions: We can induce certain emotions and study those effects. Three traditional techniques are used: reading of statements that induce certain moods, memory elicitation, and playing mood-inducing audio or video. VR systems have also been introduced very recently.

Here are the Application results

  1. Honesty: By using the VR system, three emotional states, happiness, neutral, and fear, are induced and tested for honesty. Happiness leads to more honesty. Fear does not affect honesty.
  2. Risk Taking: Four emotions, neutral, happiness, disgust, and fear, are induced by using videos. Then, the subjects’ risk attitudes are measured. Happiness and fear generate the most risk aversion, disgust the least.
  3. Charitable giving: By using face reading software, emotions are measured by the face reading software before and after a donation. More positive emotional state before the decision is associated with greater donations. However, the positive emotion decreases very quickly.
  4. Trust: In the trust game, emotion states are measured by using the face reading software. Disgust lowers trust in the trust game, and the effect is nullified by awareness of the source of disgust.
In the special tutoring time for graduate students after the lecture, Professor Noussair gave them some useful advice on the results of their experiments related to tie-up formation, stock trading, and disciplinary actions in public goods supply games.


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