Journal of Behavioral Decision Making

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Volume 19 Issue 2 (April 2006), Pages 79-190

Visceral influences on risk‐taking behavior (pages 99-113)


Visceral cues indicating proximity to objects of desire can lead people to be disproportionately influenced by the anticipated rewards of immediate gratification rather than the risks of consummatory behavior. Two studies examined this hypothesis. In Study 1, participants were given the choice of playing a game in which they risked time in the lab to win chocolate chip cookies. Participants who could see and smell the cookies while they made their decision were less sensitive to risk information than were participants for whom the cookies were merely described. In Study 2, male condom users either saw a video or read a description depicting a young couple deciding whether to have sex without a condom. Participants seeing the video expressed a greater likelihood of having unprotected sex in the situation than did participants reading the description. The underappreciated role of visceral factors in social cognition theory and research is discussed. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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