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Acta Psychologica Sinica    2014, Vol. 46 Issue (10) : 1580-1590     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.01580
Risk Preference in Making Romantic Relationship Decisions for Others with Different Psychological Distance
ZHANG Wei; LIU Yongfang; SUN Qingzhou; HU Qixu ; LIU Yi
(School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University; Key Laboratory of Brain Functional Genomics, Shanghai 200062, China)
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Many studies have found self-other differences in decision making, but few studies have focused on the differences in decision making for different others. In fact, people often need to make decisions for different others in everyday life. In this study, two experiments were conducted to examine the differences in risk preference when people made decisions for others with different psychological distance. With the revised romantic relationship decision questionnaire (Beisswanger, Stone, Hupp, & Allgaier, 2003) as a tool, Experiment 1 examined whether there were differences in risk preference when male and female participants made decisions for hypothetical specific others (friends) and abstract others (typical students) with either low or high life-impact scenarios. Experiment 2 examined whether there were differences in risk preference when male and female participants made decisions for similar others (with similar dispositional traits) and dissimilar others (with dissimilar dispositional traits). The results of the two experiments showed that: (1) No significant difference in risk preference was observed between decisions for specific others and decisions for abstract others. However, male participants were more inclined to take risks when they made decisions for specific others than abstract others, whereas female participants did the opposite. (2) In contrast, participants were more risk taking when they made decisions for dissimilar others than for similar others. (3) Participants were more inclined to take risks in low life-impact scenarios than in high life-impact scenarios. (4) Male participants were more risk taking and less susceptible to life-impact manipulation than female participants. These results suggest that individual risk preference is sensitive to not only the self-other difference in general, but also different types of others. Moreover, compared to the distinction of specific/abstract others, the distinction of similar/dissimilar others is more effective in inducing psychological distance between the self and others. To a certain extent, this result supports a social value–based account of psychological distance instead of a construal level-based account.

Keywords romantic relationship decisions      self-others differences in decision making      psychological distance      life-impact      gender     
Corresponding Authors: LIU Yongfang, E-mail:    
Issue Date: 25 October 2014
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ZHANG Wei; LIU Yongfang; SUN Qingzhou; HU Qixu ; LIU Yi. Risk Preference in Making Romantic Relationship Decisions for Others with Different Psychological Distance[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica,2014, 46(10): 1580-1590.
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