Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Risky business: Stressed men more likely to gamble

02.07.2009
Women more risk-averse when under stress
Stressed out, dude? Don't go to Vegas.

New research, to be published July 1 in the journal PLoS One, shows that men under stress may be more likely to take risks, correlating to such real-life behavior as gambling, smoking, unsafe sex and illegal drug use.

In contrast, stressed women moderate their behavior and may be less likely to make risky choices, the study found.

"Evolutionarily speaking, it's perhaps more beneficial for men to be aggressive in stressful, high-arousal situations when risk and reward are involved," said Nichole Lighthall of the University of Southern California Davis School of Gerontology and lead author of the paper. "Applied to financial risk taking, it's akin to competition for territory or other valuable resources."

The researchers asked participants to play a game called the Balloon Analogue Risk Task in which inflating a balloon earns money (five cents per pump). Participants were told that they could cash out their earnings by clicking a "Collect $$$" button at any point in the game.

However, the balloon would explode if it was inflated beyond its randomly determined breakpoint. All winnings for exploded balloons would be lost.

"One valuable aspect of the [balloon task] is its predictive validity for real-world impulsivity," Lighthall explained. "Some risk taking was necessary to make gains, but excessive risk was associated with diminishing returns. If you always clicked and never cashed out, you would lose every time."

The balloon task has been previously used to assess tolerance for risky behavior among inner-city adolescents and substance abusers, among others.

"Obviously, there are situations in the real world where risky behavior would not be beneficial," Lighthall said. "Sometimes being conservative, thoughtful and taking it slow are good things."

In the control group, men and women displayed statistically similar levels of risk taking, inflating the balloon about 40 times on average.

However, women in the stressed group only inflated the balloon an average of 32 times – more than 30 percent less often than their stressed male counterparts, who inflated the balloon an average of 48 times.

"Men seem to enter more risky financial situations than women, which was part of the impetus for our study," Lighthall said. "But only in the stressed condition did we see any statistical differences in risky behavior between men and women."

Stressful experiences have been shown to stimulate the release of cortisol, commonly known as the "stress hormone." Participants randomly assigned to the stress group held a hand in ice-cold water, which raised cortisol levels, particularly among female participants. No participants were using hormone birth control.

According to Lighthall, future research might use neuroimaging to explore how the brain processes stress or examine whether psychological stress, such as anticipating giving a speech, would yield similar results as the physical stress manipulation used in this study.

Mara Mather, director of the Emotion and Cognition Lab at USC and associate professor of psychology and

gerontology at the USC Davis School of Gerontology, and Marissa Gorlick, also of the USC Davis School of Gerontology, were co-authors of the study.

Suzanne Wu | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.usc.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht Urbanization to convert 300,000 km2 of prime croplands
27.12.2016 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>