Reward-based emotions. Affective evaluation of outcomes and regret learning

Giorgio Coricelli, Aldo Rustichini

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


The emotions related to experiencing rewards or punishers are not independent from the outcomes that have not occurred. Indeed, it is the counterfactual reasoning between the obtained and unobtained outcomes that determines the quality and intensity of the emotional response. This chapter concerns the behavioral effects and the neural substrates of a class of reward-based emotions, which are emotions elicited by rewards and punishers. It describes how outcome evaluation is influenced by the level of responsibility in the process of choice (agency) and by the available information regarding alternative outcomes. The data reported in the chapter suggests that cognitive context, exemplified by counterfactual thinking exerts a modulatory influence on the orbitofrontal cortex activation to rewards and punishers. The orbitofrontal cortex is also critically involved in learning in environments where the information about the rewards of the alternative foregone actions is available. These processes are addressed in humans, both in the context of normal and altered brain functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Reward and Decision Making
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9780123746207
StatePublished - 2009


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