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Risks and Deterrents: Individual Determinants and Group Effects NSF USPHS

Kogan, Nathan; Wallach, Michael A.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Science Foundation (NSF), United States Public Health Service (USPHS), Group Dynamics, Individual Differences, Psychological Characteristics, Risk, Risk Taking Behavior


The authors have been, for several years, engaged in research on the psychological factors predisposing individuals toward the taking of greater or lesser risks in decision making, as well as some of the consequences of such risk taking. Relatively high consistency was found among various behaviors which possess implications for risk or conservatism. The type of risks that characterize an individual were relevant to performance in an information-seeking context. This risk-taking syndrome encompassed decision making in hypothetical and monetary contexts; statistically significant but low magnitudes of relationships were found. Moderator variables which influenced the occurrence and strength of these relationships included test anxiety, defensiveness, and gender. It was concluded that any study of risk taking behavior must consider the influence of particular personality variables. They are also relevant with respect to the lack of rationality associated with severe stress; particular types of individuals are more susceptible to non- rationality. The role of intelligence, analytic functioning, and judgmental extremity were noted. Studies of interaction in group decision making indicated that the changes in responsibility which occur in a group setting resulted in a shift toward increased risk taking. Paper presented at American Orthopsychiatric Association, Washington, DC, March 7, 1963.

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