Risk and decision-making

Bruce Winterhalder

in Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780198568308
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Risk and decision-making

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
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`This article provides a brief survey of the analysis of outcome risk: what it is, in what circumstance it is important, what the analytical tools are for describing and analysing it, what examples demonstrate the utility of these tools, and what inferences can be drawn from a risk-sensitive approach to behaviour. It also summarises empirical evidence bearing on these ideas. A risk-sensitive analysis of a particular behaviour entails two steps: first, each possible option for the behaviour must be associated with a frequency distribution of its odds. A particular choice of cultivars for one particular field will result in a certain frequency distribution of yields, say of barley. Then each outcome, or in this case each yield, must be assigned a value which might be measured as fitness, utility or some other currency of relevance. Each yield of barley has a certain fitness value to the peasant family engaged in subsistence endeavour.

Keywords: outcome risk; circumstance; risk-sensitive approach; behaviour; option; odds; frequency distribution

Article.  7929 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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