A quasi-experimental study was designed to examine, whether (1) perceived risk is a function of the relative frequency of bad to good outcomes and (2) individual differences in dispositional optimism influence risk perception and risk acceptance. A total of 263 undergraduate students of psychology (189 women and 74 men) participated in the study. Subgroups of high- and low optimism selected on the basis of their optimism scores were presented with 28 multi-outcome gambles and asked to rate risk separately for each gamble and next indicate, whether they would play a given gamble or not. The data indicate that: (1) risk judgments depend on the ratio of bad to good outcomes in the outcomes' distribution, (2) high- and low optimists did not differ with respect to average risk rates but in more optimistic persons decision making would be associated with more trade-offs.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
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