Risk as Feelings

George F. Loewenstein, Christopher K. Hsee, Elke U. Weber, Ned Welch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3027 Scopus citations

Abstract

Virtually all current theories of choice under risk or uncertainty are cognitive and consequentialist. They assume that people assess the desirability and likelihood of possible outcomes of choice alternatives and integrate this information through some type of expectation-based calculus to arrive at a decision. The authors propose an alternative theoretical perspective, the risk-as-feelings hypothesis, that highlights the role of affect experienced at the moment of decision making. Drawing on research from clinical, physiological, and other subfields of psychology, they show that emotional reactions to risky situations often diverge from cognitive assessments of those risks. When such divergence occurs, emotional reactions often drive behavior. The risk-as-feelings hypothesis is shown to explain a wide range of phenomena that have resisted interpretation in cognitive-consequentialist terms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-286
Number of pages20
JournalPsychological Bulletin
Volume127
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Risk as Feelings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Loewenstein, G. F., Hsee, C. K., Weber, E. U., & Welch, N. (2001). Risk as Feelings. Psychological Bulletin, 127(2), 267-286. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.127.2.267