Prospects behind bars : analyzing decisions under risk in a prison population

Pachur, Thorsten and Hanoch, Yaniv and Gummerum, Michaela. (2011) Prospects behind bars : analyzing decisions under risk in a prison population. Psychonomic bulletin & review : a journal of the Psychonomic Society, 17. pp. 630-636.

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Criminal activity often involves considerable risks. It is therefore not surprising that criminals have beenspeculated to differ from noncriminals in risk attitude. Yet, few data exist to support this assumption. Moreover,the psychological underpinnings of differences in risk attitude are currently little understood. We presentedprisoners and controls with sets of risky decision tasks and modeled their responses using cumulative prospecttheory (CPT). The two groups showed several differences. Prisoners were more risk seeking than nonprisonersin lotteries involving losses, but they were less risk seeking in lotteries involving high-probability gains. BestfittingCPT parameters indicated a reduced sensitivity to outcomes, for both gains and losses, and a strongerloss aversion among prisoners. In addition, prisoners showed a diminished sensitivity to the probability of gains.Our results contribute to a better understanding of prisoners’ risk attitudes and the underlying mechanisms thatdistinguish prisoners from nonprisoners and may thus help improve interventions designed to prevent crime.
Faculties and Departments:07 Faculty of Psychology > Departement Psychologie > Ehemalige Einheiten Psychologie > Cognitive and Decision Sciences (Hertwig)
UniBasel Contributors:Pachur, Thorsten
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Psychonomic Society
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:10 Oct 2017 14:59
Deposited On:14 Sep 2012 07:03

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