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Keywords:

  • risk decision making;
  • negative affect;
  • emotion;
  • mood repair;
  • mood regulation;
  • depletion

Abstract

We propose that negative affect can induce people to engage in risky decisions. We test two alternative hypotheses as to how this effect may emerge. The mood repair hypothesis states that risky choices in risk decision making serve as a means to repair one's negative affect. The depletion hypothesis, in contrast, states that risky choices in risk decision making are the mere consequence of a state of depletion resulting from engagement in active mood regulation attempts. The results of a first laboratory study establish a link between risky choices in risk decision making and negative affect. Subsequent experiments provide evidence that depletion due to active mood regulation attempts, rather than mood repair, is the underlying process for this link. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.