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Frequency and Emotional Priming Could Drive Complex Decision Making

Franco Agustín Bernal

  • Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires,
  • Argentina
  • Franco Agustín Bernal ¹
  • , Tomas Alves Salgueiro ¹
  • , Axel Brzostowski ¹
  • , Pablo Nícolas Fernandez Larrosa ¹

Some decision-making (DM) processes require quick answers, while more complex decisions require greater cognitive engagement. Under the hypothesis that frequent exposure to a stimulus or its association with an emotional valence could drive DM, online cognitive experiments were conducted, involving different tasks on the computer. The experiments consisted of choosing a face (from 4 options) after being presented with different frequencies (1, 6, or 12 times over 20 presentations) or the same frequency (5 times) but associated with positive, negative, neutral, or mixed sentences. Two versions of the experiments were performed: the 1st group was asked to choose a face without any specification (Non-Specified task, NST); while the 2nd group was asked to choose a face for an important task (Important task, IT). Our results showed: 1. The 12th repeated stimulus (12) was significantly more chosen in the NST group [Factorial ANOVA: F(3, 292)=9,6498, p=,00000; post hoc LSD test: p<0.009 respect to other frequencies of NST and IT group]; 2. This priming was observed mainly when response time was fast; 3. The faces with a positive association were significantly more chosen than others, with no group differences [Factorial ANOVA:F(3, 332)=303,11, p=0,000; post hoc LSD test: p<0.000 positive association & other]. These results support our hypothesis, showing that emotional priming is more powerful than frequency one, as the latter depends on the task type and response time.