Using data from seven microworld experiments (N = 841), we investigated how participants reacted to simulated disasters with different risk profiles in a microworld. Our central focus was to investigate how the scale of a disaster affected the choices and response times of these reactions. We find that one-off large-scale disasters prompted stronger reactions to move away from the affected region than recurrent small-scale adverse events, despite the overall risk of a disaster remaining constant across both types of events. A subset of participants are persistent risk-takers who repeatedly put themselves in harm’s way, despite having all the experience and information required to avoid a disaster. Furthermore, while near-misses prompted a small degree of precautionary movement to reduce one’s subsequent risk exposure, directly experiencing the costs of the disaster substantially increased the desire to move away from the affected region. Together, the results point to ways in which laboratory risk-taking tasks can be used to inform the kinds of communication and interventions that seek to mitigate people’s exposure to risk.
|Number of pages||34|
|Journal||Judgment and Decision Making|
|Publication status||Published - 31 May 2022|
- loss aversion
- loss avoidance
- decision making
- decision strategy