Home > Risk-Taking > Ego-depletion and risk behavior: Too exhausted to take a risk.

Ego-depletion and risk behavior: Too exhausted to take a risk.

Social Psychology, Vol 42(1), 2011, 28-38. doi: 10.1027/1864-9335/a000040

Ego-depletion and risk behavior: Too exhausted to take a risk.

Ego-depletion theory postulates the existence of a mental resource that is necessary for self-regulation. If the resource is diminished by a task involving self-control, achievement in subsequent self-control tasks will be impaired. Three experiments examined whether ego-depletion limits people’s intentionality regarding risk behavior (i.e., choosing an option that has a certain probability of resulting in an adverse outcome). It is assumed that people operating under ego-depletion lack the self-control to deal with these possibly negative outcomes and will, therefore, be prone to avoid risky alternatives, if the decision requires certain levels of responsibility and information processing (i.e., people will choose safe options in an investment scenario with actual pay-offs according to expected values). Results support the assumption that people become risk averse under ego-depletion even when controlling for the alternate assumption that ego-depletion strengthens an existing individual disposition toward risk taking.

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Categories: Risk-Taking
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