SAGE Journals

Behind Closed Doors: The Role of Depressed Affect on Risky Choices Under Time Pressure

Posted on 2019-09-25 - 12:07

Previous research suggests that depressive symptoms are associated with altered sensitivity to reward and punishment in various decision-making contexts. Building on this work, this study investigated whether depressed-affect symptoms influenced risky decision making under time pressure. The effect of depressed affect on risky choice was assessed in a reward (Experiments 1A and 1B) and loss (Experiment 2) context under low- and high-pressure conditions. Decisions involved learning to choose between a “sure” option and a “risky” option with identical expected values. In Experiment 1A, depressed affect predicted increased risky decision making under time pressure but did not affect decision making under low pressure. Experiment 1B replicated this effect. In contrast, in Experiment 2, depressed affect led to reduced risk taking in low-pressure condition but did not affect decision making under high pressure. These results suggest that the pattern of risky decision making among those experiencing symptoms of depressed affect depends on performance pressure demands.


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Clinical Psychological Science


Kaileigh Byrne
Hunter Willis
Caitlin Peters
Deborah Kunkel
Thomas Tibbett
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