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Keywords:

  • biases;
  • decision cues;
  • evolutionary psychology;
  • risk communication;
  • risk perception;
  • risky choice

This chapter takes a synthetic approach to six related lines of research on decision making at risk and views risky choice as a function of cue use with priorities in the context of risk communication. An evolutionary analysis of risk and risk communication is presented in which risk is defined not only as variance in monetary payoff but also as variance in biological relatedness, social relations, and ultimately in reproductive fitness. Empirical evidence of ecological and social significance embedded in risk messages is analyzed, and how these risk cues affect behavioral decision making is examined. A new explanatory framework, the ambiguity and ambivalence hypothesis, identifies two key preconditions contributing to inconsistency and biases in making risky choices as a result of cue use in the course of risk communication.