Who Takes the Lead in Risky Decision Making? Effects of Group Members' Risk Preferences and Prototypicality
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In two experiments, we studied the effects of (a) the extent to which group members are risk seeking in comparison with others in the group and (b) group member prototypicality (the extent to which individuals hold group-typical risk preferences) on the likelihood that group members will take the lead in risky decision making. Participants were led to believe that they engaged in a four-person group discussion and received bogus feedback about their own risk preferences, the risk preferences of the other group members, and the risk preferences of their group as a whole. In Experiment 2, we also manipulated the framing of the decision problem (gain vs. loss frame). Results supported the hypotheses that (a) more risk seeking members are more likely to take the lead and (b) prototypical members are more likely to take the lead when the problem facing the group is ambiguous (i.e., when group risk preferences and decision framing are incongruent), whereas nonprototypical members are more likely to take the lead when the problem facing the group is relatively clear-cut (i.e., when group risk preferences and decision framing are congruent).