Decision-Making, Affect, and Emotion

Decisions about health and health behaviors present significant risks and benefits along the cancer control continuum. Historically, informed by decades of basic and translational evidence, behavioral scientists working to reduce the cancer burden have targeted risk perception and social normative determinants of such decisions and their resulting behaviors. Those investments have yielded actionable findings, but new knowledge is needed to optimize individual and group decision-making relevant to cancer risk and outcomes.

Recently converging evidence has demonstrated that affect is a pervasive determinant of decision-making, with multiple mechanisms of influence and means for intervention. It’s harmful at times, and beneficial at others. Association studies implicate affective states in cancer-related information processing; decisions about cancer risk and preventive behaviors (e.g., smoking, overeating, cancer screening, HPV vaccination); decisions about treatment and treatment adherence; and decisions about palliative and end-of-life care.

However, our understanding of how emotions influence single and multiple event decisions relevant to cancer prevention and control is in its infancy. Efforts to develop, test, and disseminate cancer control and biomedical interventions to reduce cancer risk, incidence, morbidity, and mortality will be hampered without improvements in basic knowledge about how affect influences individual and collective cancer-related behavioral decision-making. Greater understanding of the highly context-specific influence of emotion is critical to maximizing the ability to translate advances in affective science into objective and measurable improvements in cancer control.

Articles and Publications

Funding for Decision-Making, Affect, and Emotion Research

Fundamental Mechanisms of Affective and Decisional Processes in Cancer Control (R01)

For inquiries on this funding announcement, please contact Rebecca Ferrer.

This Funding Opportunity (PAR-20-034) will support research to generate new fundamental knowledge of affective processes. Successful basic affective science projects must have downstream consequences for single and multiple event decisions and behaviors in cancer prevention and control. However, projects do not necessarily need to examine these decisions and behaviors directly, as long as future cancer implications are clearly defined. Scientists within disciplines not traditionally focused on cancer research are encouraged to apply. Such disciplines might include (but are not limited to): affective and cognitive science, decision science, consumer science, and neuroscience.

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PAR-20-034 (R01 Clinical Trial Optional)

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Last Updated
September 24, 2020