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

64 Scopus citations

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 1 2012

Keywords

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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Economic decision biases and fundamental motivations: How mating and self-protection alter loss aversion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this