Many studies claim to measure decision-making under risk by employing the Domain-Specific Risk-Taking (DOSPERT) scale, a self-report measure, or the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART), a behavioural task. However, these tasks do not measure decision-making under risk but decision-making under uncertainty, a related but distinct concept. The present commentary discusses both the theoretical and empirical basis of the distinction between uncertainty and risk from the viewpoint of several scientific disciplines and reports how many studies wrongfully employ the DOSPERT scale and BART as risk-taking measures. Importantly, we call for proper distinguishing between (tasks measuring) decision-making under uncertainty and decision-making under risk in psychology, and related fields. We believe this is vital as research has shown that people's attitudes, behaviour, and brain activity differ between both concepts, indicating that confusing the concepts may lead researchers to erroneous conclusions.

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Frontiers in Psychology
Department of Applied Economics

De Groot, K. (Kristel), & Thurik, R. (2018). Disentangling risk and uncertainty: When risk-taking measures are not about risk. Frontiers in Psychology, 9(NOV). doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02194