Life history and pathogen susceptibility: effects on risk taking behaviorsShow full item record
|Life history and pathogen susceptibility: effects on risk taking behaviors
|Prokosch, Marjorie L.
|Master of Science
|Life history theory predicts that cues in the environment that influence one's mortality risk should have important implications for decision-making. One factor that is known to impact one's mortality risk is the threat of disease, particularly among those most vulnerable to infection. Two studies examined the impact of the perceived disease load on people's preference for immediate versus delayed rewards and financial risk-taking. In both studies, participants were primed with cues indicating a growing disease threat or control cues. In Study 1, this was followed by a temporal discounting task and measures of one's ability to delay gratification. In Study 2, participants completed a risk taking behavioral measure. Results revealed that individuals with a history of health problems respond to cues of a growing disease threat by reporting more difficulty delaying gratification, valuing smaller, immediate rewards over larger, delayed rewards, and exhibiting a greater preference for risky rewards compared to controls. This research provides the first experimental evidence indicating that vulnerability to disease - both chronically occurring and experimentally manipulated - have implications for life history strategies and economic decision-making.
|Hill, Sarah E.
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- Masters Theses