|M.Sc Student||Ariel Telpaz|
|Subject||Autonomic Arousal as Predictor of Risk Taking in|
|Department||Department of Industrial Engineering and Management||Supervisor||Full Professor Yechiam Eldad|
|Full Thesis text|
This research examines whether risky behavior could be predicted by pre-task (chronic) autonomic arousal level. Several personality theories suggest that high aroused individuals would tend to be more risk averse. However, the findings are mixed, suggesting that the association between arousal and risk taking may be situation specific. In Study 1 we re-analyze the results of a previous study (Hochman & Yechiam, 2008) to examine the linkage between arousal level and risky choices, in decision problems involving losses or no losses. The results show that individuals with high tonic (resting) pupil size take less risk when it involves losses, but take more risk when it involves only gains. In study 2 we examine the sensitivity of these regularities to cognitive load. The results show that the association between arousal and loss aversion is robust, but that the association between arousal and risk taking in the gain domain is moderated by memory load. These findings highlight the importance of losses as natural signals of risk, and clarify the conditions for the association between arousal and risk taking.