The motivational effect of need on decision-making under risk

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Mishra, Sandeep
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Psychology, c2010
Risk-sensitivity theory predicts that decision-makers shift from risk-aversion to riskpreference in situations where low-risk options are unlikely to meet their needs. Risksensitive theory is contrasted with more traditional unbounded models of decision-making predicting that decision-makers seek to optimize utility in all decisions. In this dissertation, I review influential theories of decision-making from the various behavioral sciences, and offer an integrated approach to understanding decision-making informed by evolutionary theory. I then present evidence suggesting that risk-taking comprises a general phenomenon, inclusive of such behaviors as gambling and antisocial conduct. Finally, I demonstrate in several laboratory experiments that conditions of need, such as inequality, are important motivators of risky behavior. Together, the results suggest that risk-taking represents a functional triggering of preference for variable outcomes in response to conditions of need, consistent with risk-sensitivity theory.
xiv, 149 leaves ; 29 cm
Decision making , Risk-taking (Psychology) , Dissertations, Academic