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Advances in Psychological Science    2017, Vol. 25 Issue (3) : 486-499     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2017.00486
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Risk-sensitivity theory: Need motivates risky decision-making
SONG Yunqiang; XU Ruiheng; XING Cai
(Department of Psychology, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China)
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Abstract  

Risk-sensitivity theory, which is based on experimental examination of the foraging behavior of animals, proposes that decision makers shift from risk aversion to risk preference in situations of need. As a biological theory of decision making, predications based on risk sensitivity theory has been supported by both animal studies and studies involve human participants. Existing evidence suggests that risk-sensitivity theory can account for various patterns of decision-making in a wide range of domains. It’s necessary to provide a systematic review of risk-sensitivity theory, including its theoretical speculation, main arguments, and development of mathematical models. Distinctions among risk sensitivity theory and other well- established theories were also speculated in consideration of the reference point. Risk-sensitivity theory contributes to the literature as it provides additional explanations for shifts in individuals’ risk taking tendencies under a wide range of situational factors, including changes in economic inequality and power.

Keywords Risk-sensitivity theory      need      reference point      economic inequality      power     
Corresponding Authors: XING Cai, E-mail: cxing@ruc.edu.cn   
Issue Date: 15 March 2017
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SONG Yunqiang
XU Ruiheng
XING Cai
Cite this article:   
SONG Yunqiang,XU Ruiheng,XING Cai. Risk-sensitivity theory: Need motivates risky decision-making[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2017, 25(3): 486-499.
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http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlkxjz/EN/10.3724/SP.J.1042.2017.00486     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlkxjz/EN/Y2017/V25/I3/486
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