Can't help it

Kevin Lewis

September 16, 2017

Going for it on fourth down: Rivalry increases risk-taking, physiological arousal, and promotion focus
Christopher To et al.
Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming


Risk taking is fundamental to organizational decision making. Extending prior work that has identified individual and situational antecedents of risk-taking, we explore a significant relational antecedent of risk-taking: rivalry. In both a field setting and a laboratory experiment, we describe how a competitor's identity and relationship with the decision maker influences risk-taking. We analyze play-by-play archival data from the National Football League and find that interactions with rival (versus non-rival) partners' increases risky behavior. In a laboratory experiment involving face-to-face competition, we demonstrate that rivalry increases risk-taking via two pathways: increased promotion focus and physiological arousal. These findings highlight the importance of incorporating relational characteristics to understand risk-taking. Our findings also advance our understanding of when and why competition promotes risk-taking, and underscore the importance of identity and relationships in the psychology and physiology of competitive decision making in organizations.

Entertainment as a Creature Comfort: Self-Control and Selection of Challenging Media
Allison Eden, Benjamin Johnson & Tilo Hartmann
Media Psychology, forthcoming


A between-subjects experiment examined selective exposure to films in an imagined self-control scenario, and if exposure would be systematically related to perceptions of the film content as challenging, enjoyable, and a should versus a want choice. Across 3 measures of selective exposure - using open-ended choice, closed-ended choice, and prospective ratings - participants in the depletion condition were less likely to select films that were cognitively challenging, affectively challenging, or a should choice. In contrast to nondepleted participants, depleted participants were more likely to select films they expected being fun, suspenseful, and less appreciated. These results provide support for the proposition that users' momentary self-control capacity and their perception of challenge provided by content predict media choice.

Quitting When the Going Gets Tough: A Downside of High Performance Expectations
Hengchen Dai et al.
Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming


High performance expectations often improve performance. When individuals with high external performance expectations encounter early setbacks, however, they face impression management concerns and the prospect of embarrassment. As a result, when the going gets tough, individuals facing high external expectations may be less likely to persist than people facing low external expectations. In a field study of 328,515 men's professional tennis matches (Study 1), we employ a regression discontinuity design to demonstrate that after losing the first set of a match, players who are expected to win (favorites) are significantly more likely to quit than players who are expected to lose (underdogs). We replicate this pattern of results in a laboratory experiment (Study 2) and provide evidence for our proposed mechanism: compared to individuals facing low external expectations, those facing high expectations are more easily embarrassed by poor performance and consequently less persistent following early setbacks.

Present Bias and Everyday Self-Control Failures: A Day Reconstruction Study
Liam Delaney & Leonhard Lades
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, forthcoming


Everyday life is full of self-control problems. The economist's favorite explanation for self-control problems is present bias. This paper tests whether experimentally elicited present bias predicts self-control problems in everyday life. We measure present bias by using a standard incentivized delay discounting task and everyday self-control by using the day reconstruction method (DRM). Because this is the first study to measure everyday self-control by using the DRM, we also validate the method by showing that its data replicate key results from the seminal Everyday Temptation Study. We find that present bias does not predict everyday self-control. This points to a distinction between decreasing impatience (as measured in delay discounting tasks) and visceral influences (as occurring in everyday life) as determinants of self-control problems. We argue that decision making research can benefit from the DRM as a cost-effective tool that complements lab and field experiments to better understand economic preference measures and their correlates in everyday life decision making.

Maintained Physical Activity Induced Changes in Delay Discounting
Michael Sofis, Ale Carrillo & David Jarmolowicz
Behavior Modification, July 2017, Pages 499-528


Those who discount the subjective value of delayed rewards less steeply are more likely to engage in physical activity. There is limited research, however, showing whether physical activity can change rates of delay discounting. In a two-experiment series, treatment and maintenance effects of a novel, effort-paced physical activity intervention on delay discounting were evaluated with multiple baseline designs. Using a lap-based method, participants were instructed to exercise at individualized high and low effort levels and to track their own perceived effort. The results suggest that treatment-induced changes in discounting were maintained at follow-up for 13 of 16 participants. In Experiment 2, there were statistically significant group-level improvements in physical activity and delay discounting when comparing baseline with both treatment and maintenance phases. Percentage change in delay discounting was significantly correlated with session attendance and relative pace (min/mile) improvement over the course of the 7-week treatment. Implications for future research are discussed.

Insufficient sleep: Enhanced risk-seeking relates to low local sleep intensity
Angelina Maric et al.
Annals of Neurology, forthcoming

Methods: We assessed financial risk-taking behavior after 7 consecutive nights of sleep restriction and after one night of acute sleep deprivation compared to a regular sleep condition in a within-subject design. We further investigated potential underlying mechanisms of sleep loss induced changes in behavior by high-density electroencephalography recordings during restricted sleep.

Results: We show that chronic sleep restriction increases risk-seeking, while this was not observed after acute sleep deprivation. This increase was subjectively not noticed and was related to locally lower values of slow wave energy during preceding sleep, an electrophysiological marker of sleep intensity and restoration, in electrodes over the right prefrontal cortex.

Time of day differences in neural reward functioning in healthy young men
Jamie Byrne et al.
Journal of Neuroscience, forthcoming


Reward function appears to be modulated by the circadian system, but little is known about the neural basis of this interaction. Previous research suggests that the neural reward response may be different in the afternoon; however the direction of this effect is contentious. Reward response may follow the diurnal rhythm in self-reported positive affect, peaking in the early afternoon. An alternative is that daily reward response represents a type of prediction error, with neural reward activation relatively high at times of day when rewards are unexpected (i.e., early and late in the day). The present study measured neural reward activation in the context of a validated reward task at 10.00h, 14.00h, and 19.00h in healthy human males. A region of interest blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) protocol was used to investigate the diurnal waveform of activation in reward-related brain regions. Multi-level modelling found, as expected, a highly significant quadratic time-of-day effect focusing on the left putamen (p <.001). Consistent with the 'prediction error' hypothesis, activation was significantly higher at 10.00h and 19.00h compared to 14.00h. It is provisionally concluded that the putamen may be particularly important in endogenous priming of reward motivation at different times of day, with the pattern of activation consistent with circadian-modulated reward expectancies in neural pathways; viz., greater activation to reward stimuli at unexpected times of day. This study encourages further research into circadian modulation of reward, and underscores the methodological importance of accounting for time of day in fMRI protocols.

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