We are pleased to host Dr. Jennifer Lerner, Professor of Public Policy & Management from the Harvard Kennedy School at Harvard University. This talk is co-sponsored by the Mershon Center.
Title: Portrait of the Angry Decision Maker
Abstract: Drawing on the Appraisal-Tendency Framework (Lerner & Keltner, 2000; 2001), I will present a series of studies from my lab revealing that incidental anger systematically biases judgment and decision making by heightening perceptions of controllability and certainty, decreasing perceptions of risk, and increasing risk taking. I then will present a series of studies (also from my lab) revealing the ways in which such superficially “biased” responses prove to be both biologically adaptive and financially lucrative, especially for males. Taken together, the studies make clear that simple conclusions about the role of emotion in rationality obfuscate complex patterns of human behavior. Angry decision makers exhibit a predictable pattern of responses but the normative consequences of such responses hinge on specific situational contingencies.