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How much risk can you stomach? Individual differences in the tolerance of perceived risk across gender and risk domain

Rolison, Jonathan and Shenton, Jeordie (2020) 'How much risk can you stomach? Individual differences in the tolerance of perceived risk across gender and risk domain.' Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 33 (1). pp. 63-85. ISSN 0894-3257

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Research within the psychological risk-return framework, namely using the Domain-Specific Risk-Taking (DOSPERT) scale, has led to a conclusion that risk attitude—measured as an individual’s sensitivity to the risk they perceive—is stable across people (e.g., gender) and domains (e.g., recreational, social, financial, health). Risk-taking differences across gen-der and domain have been interpreted in terms of differences in the magnitude of risk per-ceived (and expected benefit). Yet, the DOSPERT scale items, contrived by researchers, ra-ther than decision-makers themselves, may have failed to detect differences in perceived risk attitude by failing to adequately represent all combinations of risks and benefits across gender and domains. In Study 1, participants generated their own examples of activities, which we selected among in Studies 2 and 3 to construct a new scale representing various levels of per-ceived risk and expected benefit. Our findings reveal that women are more sensitive than men to risk they perceive (i.e., are less tolerant of risk) in the recreational, social, and financial do-mains, but not the health domain. Risk attitude also differed across domains, with partici-pants tolerating more risk in some domains than in others. We conclude that gender and do-main differences in risk-taking stem partly from gender and domain differences in people’s sensitivity to perceived risks. Our findings have theoretical implications for the psychological risk-return framework and bridge with other theoretical approaches, such as the expected util-ity framework. Our studies also provide a new scale for assessing differences in attitudes to-ward risk that overcomes shortcomings of existing scales.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: DOSPERT; gender differences; risk attitude; risk domain; risk perception; risk taking
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2019 12:43
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:01

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