In four experiments conducted on the world wide web, subjects evaluated the priority of policies presented separately or presented jointly in pairs, and/or reported their emotional responses to the problem that each policy addressed. Strength of emotional responses was more strongly related to priority when policies were presented separately than when they were presented jointly. We found evidence for one mechanism that could produce these results: joint presentation increases the evaluability of the policies, thus increasing the influence of cognitive evaluations of importance on priority judgements, and reducing the relative influence of emotional responses. We also found evidence that importance can affect emotional responses. We found no evidence for other mechanisms in which the emotions evoked by one item spread to the other item in joint presentation. The role of evaluability points to the applied value of evaluating policies in the context of alternatives.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Correspondence should be addressed to: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org This research was funded by a grant from the U.S.·Israel Bi-national Science Foundation.
- Public policy