Decision-Making Traits and States as Determinants of Risky Choices


Gärtner, Manja (DIW Berlin)
Tinghög, Gustav (Linköping University)
Västfjäll, Daniel (Linköping University)


We test the effects of dual processing differences in both individual traits and decision states on risk taking. In an experiment with a large representative sample (N = 1,832), we vary whether risky choices are induced to be based on either emotion or reason, while simultaneously measuring individual decision-making traits. Our results show that decision-making traits are strong and robust determinants of risk taking: a more intuitive trait is associated with more risk taking, while a more deliberative trait is associated with less risk taking. Experimentally induced states, on the other hand, have no effect on risk taking. A test of state-trait interactions shows that the association between an intuitive trait and risk taking becomes weaker in the emotion-inducing state and in the loss domain. In contrast, the association between a deliberative trait and risk taking is stable across states. These findings highlight the importance of considering state-trait interactions when using dual processing theories to predict individual differences in risk taking.


risk preferences; intuition; emotion; reason; experiment


C91; D81; D91


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Decision-Making Traits and States as Determinants of Risky Choices
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