Duke Study: Brain Connects Emotions To Monetary Value

Jul 5, 2013

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Researchers at Duke University say the same area of your brain that puts a dollar value on an item also places an emotional value on that item. 

The study helps explain why advertisers find success tying emotional images to their products.  Scott Huettel is a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke and worked on the study.  He says stepping back and reassessing what you feel about something is one way to counter that emotional response.

"People can bring a lot of information to bear on a decision and they can do so in a way that fits their preferences.  The problem is, in many cases, people don't spend the time that they could use to be able to make a good decision," Huettel says.

"And so our hope is that by understanding more about the decision process we're going to find some simple rules that people can help use to improve their decision making process."

Huettel says reappraisal of emotions pushes around the brain signals for value in the same way that prices do.