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Keywords:

  • risk attitudes;
  • priming effects;
  • risk preferences;
  • deliberative mental operations

Abstract

We present a procedure for subconscious priming of risk attitudes. In Experiment 1, we were reliably able to induce risk-seeking or risk-averse preferences across a range of decision scenarios using this priming procedure. In Experiment 2, we showed that these priming effects can be reversed by drawing participants' attention to the priming event. Our results support claims that the formation of risk preferences can be based on preconscious processing, as for example postulated by the affective primacy hypothesis, rather than rely on deliberative mental operations, as posited by several current models of judgment and decision making. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.