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Modifying Evaluations and Decisions in Risky Situations

  • Antonio Maldonado (a1), Sara Serra (a1), Andrés Catena (a1), Antonio Cándido (a1) and Alberto Megías (a1)...


The main aim of this research was to investigate the decision making process in risky situations. We studied how different types of feedback on risky driving behaviors modulate risk evaluation and risk-taking. For a set of risky traffic situations, participants had to make evaluative judgments (judge the situation as risky or not) and urgent decisions (brake or not). In Experiment 1, participants received feedback with and without negative emotional content when they made risky behaviors. In Experiment 2 we investigated the independent effects of feedback and negative emotional stimuli. The results showed three important findings: First, urgent decisions were faster [F(1, 92) = 6.76, p = .01] and more cautious [F(1, 92) = 17.16, p < .001] than evaluative judgments. These results suggest that evaluative judgments of risk and actual risk-taking may not always coincide, and that they seem to be controlled by two different processing systems as proposed by dual process theories. Second, feedback made participants’ responses even faster [F(1, 111) = 71.53, p < .001], allowing greater risk sensitivity [F(1, 111) = 22.12, p < .001] and skewing towards more cautious responses [F(1, 111) = 14.09, p < .001]. Finally, emotional stimuli had an effect only when they were presented as feedback. The results of this research increase our understanding of the processes involved in risky driving behavior and suggest efficient ways to control risk taking through the use of feedback.


Corresponding author

*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Alberto Megías. Universidad de Granada - Department of psychology. Granada (Spain). E-mail:


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Modifying Evaluations and Decisions in Risky Situations

  • Antonio Maldonado (a1), Sara Serra (a1), Andrés Catena (a1), Antonio Cándido (a1) and Alberto Megías (a1)...


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