Mohr, Peter N. C.

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Peter N. C.
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Risk Patterns and Correlated Brain Activities : Multidimensional Statistical Analysis of fMRI Data in Economic Decision Making Study

2014-07, Bömmel, Alena van, Song, Song, Majer, Piotr, Mohr, Peter N. C., Heekeren, Hauke R., Härdle, Wolfgang K.

Decision making usually involves uncertainty and risk. Understanding which parts of the human brain are activated during decisions under risk and which neural processes underly (risky) investment decisions are important goals in neuroeconomics. Here, we analyze functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data on 17 subjects who were exposed to an investment decision task from Mohr, Biele, Krugel, Li, and Heekeren (in NeuroImage 49, 2556–2563, 2010b). We obtain a time series of three-dimensional images of the blood-oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) fMRI signals. We apply a panel version of the dynamic semiparametric factor model (DSFM) presented in Park, Mammen, Wolfgang, and Borak (in Journal of the American Statistical Association 104(485), 284–298, 2009) and identify task-related activations in space and dynamics in time. With the panel DSFM (PDSFM) we can capture the dynamic behavior of the specific brain regions common for all subjects and represent the high-dimensional time-series data in easily interpretable low-dimensional dynamic factors without large loss of variability. Further, we classify the risk attitudes of all subjects based on the estimated low-dimensional time series. Our classification analysis successfully confirms the estimated risk attitudes derived directly from subjects’ decision behavior.

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Music-evoked incidental happiness modulates probability weighting during risky lottery choices

2014, Schulreich, Stefan, Heussen, Yana G., Gerhardt, Holger, Mohr, Peter N. C., Binkofski, Ferdinand C., Koelsch, Stefan, Heekeren, Hauke R.

We often make decisions with uncertain consequences. The outcomes of the choices we make are usually not perfectly predictable but probabilistic, and the probabilities can be known or unknown. Probability judgments, i.e., the assessment of unknown probabilities, can be influenced by evoked emotional states. This suggests that also the weighting of known probabilities in decision making under risk might be influenced by incidental emotions, i.e., emotions unrelated to the judgments and decisions at issue. Probability weighting describes the transformation of probabilities into subjective decision weights for outcomes and is one of the central components of cumulative prospect theory (CPT) that determine risk attitudes. We hypothesized that music-evoked emotions would modulate risk attitudes in the gain domain and in particular probability weighting. Our experiment featured a within-subject design consisting of four conditions in separate sessions. In each condition, the 41 participants listened to a different kind of music—happy, sad, or no music, or sequences of random tones—and performed a repeated pairwise lottery choice task. We found that participants chose the riskier lotteries significantly more often in the “happy” than in the “sad” and “random tones” conditions. Via structural regressions based on CPT, we found that the observed changes in participants' choices can be attributed to changes in the elevation parameter of the probability weighting function: in the “happy” condition, participants showed significantly higher decision weights associated with the larger payoffs than in the “sad” and “random tones” conditions. Moreover, elevation correlated positively with self-reported music-evoked happiness. Thus, our experimental results provide evidence in favor of a causal effect of incidental happiness on risk attitudes that can be explained by changes in probability weighting.