How entrepreneurs perceive, evaluate and exploit opportunities is perhaps entrepreneurship's core phenomenon. That mandates we better understand those processes both from the rational cognitive perspective and the perspective of emotions. The best target phenomena to study then are those where both rational analysis and deep emotion must arguably be salient: Social entrepreneurial opportunities.

Neuroeconomics research argues to consider cognitive phenomena explicitly at deeper levels (Krueger, 2007) such as experiment-based analyses of how cognitive appraisal and anticipated-outcome emotions influence individual perception, evaluation and exploitation of entrepreneurial opportunities. Cognitive appraisal theories explicitly address cognitions, emotions and their interaction, assessing how persons appraise events (e.g., prospective venture launch) using both cognitions and emotions that significantly influence behaviour. Lazarus and Ellis’s cognitive appraisal theory of emotion postulates we appraise events with respect to their importance and desirability (primary appraisal) and the ability to react (secondary appraisal). More positive primary appraisals (general and situation-specific) and secondary appraisals will be associated positively on the perception and evaluation as well as the likelihood of exploiting entrepreneurial situations.