THE EFFECT OF CONCEPTUAL COMPLEXITY AND GROUP DISCUSSION ON RISK-TAKING AND JUDGMENTAL BEHAVIOR,
PRINCETON UNIV N J DEPT OF PSYCHOLOGY
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Several recent studies have reported that individuals take higher risks as a result of group discussion. The measure used in most of the relevant research has been a Choice Dilemmas instrument, where Ss risk-taking propensity is inferred from the minimum odds of success he would demand before recommending the risky alternative in various hypothetical choice situations. A purpose of the present study was to test one prevalent explanation of the risky shift phenomenon, according to which it is a process of responsibility diffusion that enables the group members to become more acceptant of the risk of failure. This interpretation would not predict a shift toward risk on the part of an individual isolated from and unnoticed by the group but witnessing its discussion. An additional aim of this study was to investigate the role of information processing as a source of differences in risk taking.