Economic decision biases and fundamental motivations

How mating and self-protection alter loss aversion

Yexin Jessica Li, Douglas Kenrick, Vladas Griskevicius, Steven Neuberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Much research shows that people are loss averse, meaning that they weigh losses more heavily than gains. Drawing on an evolutionary perspective, we propose that although loss aversion might have been adaptive for solving challenges in the domain of self-protection, this may not be true for men in the domain of mating. Three experiments examine how loss aversion is influenced by mating and self-protection motives. Findings reveal that mating motives selectively erased loss aversion in men. In contrast, self-protective motives led both men and women to become more loss averse. Overall, loss aversion appears to be sensitive to evolutionarily important motives, suggesting that it may be a domain-specific bias operating according to an adaptive logic of recurring threats and opportunities in different evolutionary domains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)550-561
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume102
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2012

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Keywords

  • Decision biases
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Loss aversion
  • Mating
  • Self-protection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Psychology

Cite this

Economic decision biases and fundamental motivations : How mating and self-protection alter loss aversion. / Li, Yexin Jessica; Kenrick, Douglas; Griskevicius, Vladas; Neuberg, Steven.

In: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 102, No. 3, 03.2012, p. 550-561.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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