Knowing where to draw the line: Perceptual differences between risk-takers and non-risk-takers

Adam T. Biggs, Christopher Davoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There are a variety of reasons someone might engage in risky behaviors, such as perceived invulnerability to harm or a belief that negative outcomes are more likely for others than for oneself. However, these risk-taking biases are often measured at a decision-making level or from the developmental perspective. Here we assessed whether or not risk-taking influenced perceptual judgments associated with risk. Participants were provided an objective task to measure individual differences in the perception of physical dimensions (i.e., actual size of a balloon) versus the perception of risk (i.e., size at which the balloon would explode). Our results show that specific differences in risk-taking personalities produce specific differences in perceptual judgments about risk, but do not affect perception of the actual dimensions. Thus, risk-takers differ from non-risk-takers in the perceptual estimations they make about risks, and therefore may be more likely to engage in dangerous or uncertain behaviors because they perceive risks differently. Copyright:

Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 17 2014


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