Context explains divergent effects of anger on risk taking.

Academic Article


  • The emotion anger is typically associated with increased risk taking. However, anger also produces increased probability estimates that emotionally congruent negative events will occur. This latter finding suggests that the general assumption that anger always increases risky decision making may be subject to caveat. The context of a risk-taking opportunity may dictate whether anger leads to greater or lesser acceptance of risk as a function of which component of the emotional state (i.e., affective or conceptual) is salient. In the experiment reported, participants completed one of two versions of a risk-taking measure that differ according to whether they evoke decisions based on affective feelings or more deliberate reasoning. Results demonstrated that angry participants made riskier decisions than their neutral counterparts under conditions less susceptible to the use of affective information, but made less risky decisions under conditions that favored the use of affective information. The importance of studying emotional states as multifaceted and contextualized phenomenon is discussed.
  • Authors

  • Wormwood, Jolie
  • DeSteno, David
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • December 2012
  • Published In

  • Emotion  Journal
  • Keywords

  • Adult
  • Anger
  • Decision Making
  • Humans
  • Psychological Tests
  • Risk-Taking
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 22985339
  • Start Page

  • 1196
  • End Page

  • 1199
  • Volume

  • 12
  • Issue

  • 6