Actor/observer asymmetry in risky decision making.

Are people willing to gamble more for themselves than what they deem reasonable for others? We addressed this question in a simplified computer gambling task in which subjects chose from a set of 10 cards. Subjects selected one card at a time after being instructed that 9 cards were good (win a dollar per card) and one was really bad (lose all the money and end the game). Subjects could stop playing at any time to collect their winnings. Some subjects played the game, others observed a confederate. Both groups took risks beyond what was rational (i.e., 5 cards) but actors were riskier than observers. The actor/observer asymmetry occurred even after controlling for monetary outcome (i.e., having observers win prizes) and after controlling for how the question was framed (i.e., asking observers what they themselves would do as opposed to what the confederate should do). We discuss these results in relation to theories of decision making that emphasize separate contributions of rational and experiential systems.

Main Author: Fernandez-Duque, Diego.
Other Authors: Wifall, Timothy.
Format: Villanova Faculty Authorship
Language: English
Published: 2007
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