Who takes risks when and why? Determinants of risk taking

Bernd Figner, Elke U. Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

301 Scopus citations


Life is full of risky decisions, from the mundane to matters of life or death. Individuals differ in the risks they accept (or even deliberately embrace). However, risk taking is not a single trait but is a behavior influenced by characteristics of the situation (what the decision is about and to what extent it engages affect vs. deliberation), the decision maker (age and gender), and interactions between situation and decision maker. Understanding the mechanisms behind risk taking-or who takes risks when and why-is particularly important when the goal is to influence and modify the behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-216
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


  • Columbia Card Task
  • DOSPERT scale
  • adolescence
  • deliberative versus affective processes
  • domain-specific risk taking
  • gender differences
  • individual differences
  • risky decision making


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