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Cultural Values and the Risky Shift: A Cross-Cultural Test in Uganda and the United States

Carlson, Julia A.; Davis, Clive M.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Cross-Cultural Studies, Cultural Differences, Decision Making, Group Behavior, Risk, Uganda


To investigate the hypothesis that the "risky shift" is a function of a cultural value favoring risk. Group and individual decisions of Ugandan and U.S. students were compared on two tasks: the choice dilemmas devised by Kogan and Wallach and the actual-consequence situation of Wallach, Kogan, and Bem. On both tasks the individual decisions of the Ugandans were more conservative, supporting the premise that Ugandan students are less favorably disposed to risk taking than are the U.S. students. For the Ugandan sample, group discussions produced no evidence of a risky shift. For the U.S. sample, there was evidence of a risky shift, but not to the extent reported by other investigators. The results were interpreted as consistent with the cultural-value hypothesis; some reservations were discussed. (Author)

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