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Reward and Uncertainty Favor Risky Decision-Making in Pilots: Evidence from Cardiovascular and Oculometric Measurements

Causse, Mickaël and Baracat, Bruno and Pastor, Josette and Dehais, Frédéric Reward and Uncertainty Favor Risky Decision-Making in Pilots: Evidence from Cardiovascular and Oculometric Measurements. (2011) Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 36 (4). 231-242. ISSN 1090-0586

(Document in English)

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10484-011-9163-0


In this paper we examined plan continuation error (PCE), a well known error made by pilots consisting in continuing the flight plan despite adverse meteorological conditions. Our hypothesis is that a large range of strong negative emotional consequences, including those induced by economic pressure, are associated with the decision to revise the flight plan and favor PCE. We investigated the economic hypothesis with a simplified landing task (reproduction of a real aircraft instrument) in which uncertainty and reward were manipulated. Heart rate (HR), heart rate variability (HRV) and eye tracking measurements were performed to get objective clues both on the cognitive and emotional state of the volunteers. Results showed that volunteers made more risky decisions under the influence of the financial incentive, in particular when uncertainty was high. Psychophysiological examination showed that HR increased and total HRV decreased in response to the cognitive load generated by the task. In addition, HR also increased in response to the financially motivated condition. Eventually, fixation times increased when uncertainty was high, confirming the difficulty in obtaining/interpreting information from the instrument in this condition. These results support the assumption that risky-decision making observed in pilots can be, at least partially, explained by a shift from cold to hot (emotional) decision-making in response to economic constraints and uncertainty.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Thanks to Springer editor. The definitive version is available at http://www.springerlink.com. The original PDF of the article can be found at Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback website: http://link.springer.com/journal/10484
HAL Id:hal-01069559
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale - INSERM (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace - ISAE-SUPAERO (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Universitaire Champollion - INU (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - UT3 (FRANCE)
Laboratory name:
Deposited On:29 Sep 2014 12:22

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