Risk-taking in explanation of biological events


  • Jerry G. Horn

    1. School of Education, University of South Dakota Vermillion, South Dakota 57069
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    • The research represented herein was performed as a part of the author's graduate studies at the University of Colorado under the direction of Dr. Ronald D. Anderson.


Risk-taking by biology students as they attempt to explain observed biological events was investigated. The dependent variable, risk-taking as measured by the Extremity-Confidence of Hypothesis Test and the Risk-Taking Verbal Observation Scale, was analyzed within 2 × 2 and 2 × 3 factorial designs. The independent variables consisted of two levels of achievement motivation and status of information, and three levels of group arrangement for discussion.

The results indicate that verbal risk-taking is influenced by differential knowledge of the information and the composition of a discussion group based on the members' measured achievement motivation. No differences were noted in the comparison groups on risk-taking as measured by the Extremity-Confidence of Hypothesis Test. A significant, but low, positive correlation was found to exist between IQ and risk-taking in verbal discourse by individuals. Based on the results of this study, the suggestion that risk-taking is a multidimensional trait is supported, and the magnitude of its expression may be influenced by differential treatments.