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Soc Neurosci. 2011;6(2):169-77. doi: 10.1080/17470919.2010.495883. Epub 2010 Jul 21.

Frames, decisions, and cardiac-autonomic control.

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INSIDE Research Centre, University of Luxembourg, Campus Walferdange, Route de Diekirch, L-7201 Walferdange, Luxembourg.


The "framing effect" (FE) describes the phenomenon whereby human choices are susceptible to the way they are presented rather than objective information. The present study extends common decision-making paradigms with frame variation by including inhibitory control, operationalized as vagally mediated heart rate variability (HRV) at rest and motor response inhibition during a stop-signal task (SST). We hypothesized that inhibitory control is inversely associated with susceptibility to framing effects. Forty adult volunteers performed a risky-choice framing task in which identical information about wins and losses was presented using loss or gain frames. As predicted, there was an inverse association between HRV and framing effects, accounting for 23% of the variance in framing effects. Inhibitory control as indexed by performance in the SST was not associated with framing effects. These results are discussed in terms of the role of inhibitory processes (as indicated by vagal activity) for decision-making processes.

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