Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A surprise win or loss impacts taking future risks

Date:
July 6, 2012
Source:
Case Western Reserve University
Summary:
People appear to decrease their risk-taking levels after experiencing any surprising outcome – even positive ones.

It is intuitive that most people would be less likely to take risks after an unexpected loss. What happens after a surprising win?

It turns out that the very same trend applies, according to Case Western Reserve University psychologist Heath Demaree. In other words, it's not whether you win or lose, but whether the outcome is expected. People appear to decrease their risk-taking levels after experiencing any surprising outcome -- even positive ones.

"Surprising events are known to cause animals to stop, freeze, orient to the surprising stimulus and update their schemas of how the world works," Demaree, professor of psychology at Case Western Reserve, said. "Our recent research suggests that surprising events also cause people to temporarily reduce risk-taking."

The researcher is the lead author of the article "Risk Dishabituation: In Repeated Gambling, Risk Is Reduced Following Low-Probability 'Surprising' Events (Win or Lose)," which has been published in the American Psychological Association journal, Emotion.

Demaree, who studies emotions and how they impact decision-making, set out to further understand how a person's current emotional state predicts risk-taking behavior. Past research has revealed that positive and negative emotional states generally decrease and increase risk-taking, respectively.

With a fictitious bankroll of $50, participants played one or two of three types of computerized slot games 25 times each. Each computerized game produced wins at different probabilities -- 13% (with big jackpots), 50% (essentially, a coin flip), and 87% (with very small jackpots). Although no participants gambled with real money, motivation to win was present. For every dollar in the individual's account at the end of playing the 25 games, the person received one ticket toward a $50 raffle.

"Each game was set to be a 'fair' game," said Demaree. "That is, if you played for a long period of time, you should break even on average."

The researchers had 59 participants play the high-risk computerized gambling game (13 percent) and surprised the participants with some big wins. A separate group of 85 participants played both the 50 percent and 85 percent win yield. The last group, which expected to mostly win, was given some unexpected losses. After playing each game, students answered a questionnaire about emotions, moods and risk taking. In addition to a person's self-reported emotional valence predicting risk-taking level, a just-experienced surprising event appeared to temporarily produce risk aversion.

Collaborators on the study were: Kevin J. Burns, The MITRE Corporation; Edward Agarwala and Michael DeDonno, Case Western Reserve University; and D. Erik Everhart, East Carolina University.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Case Western Reserve University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Heath A. Demaree, Kevin J. Burns, Michael A. DeDonno, Edward K. Agarwala, D. Erik Everhart. Risk dishabituation: In repeated gambling, risk is reduced following low-probability “surprising” events (wins or losses). Emotion, 2012; 12 (3): 495 DOI: 10.1037/a0025780

Cite This Page:

Case Western Reserve University. "A surprise win or loss impacts taking future risks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120706184351.htm>.
Case Western Reserve University. (2012, July 6). A surprise win or loss impacts taking future risks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120706184351.htm
Case Western Reserve University. "A surprise win or loss impacts taking future risks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120706184351.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins