Infoscience

Journal article

Pro Free Will Priming Enhances "Risk-Taking" Behavior in the Iowa Gambling Task, but Not in the Balloon Analogue Risk Task: Two Independent Priming Studies

Studies indicated that people behave less responsibly after exposure to information containing deterministic statements as compared to free will statements or neutral statements. Thus, deterministic primes should lead to enhanced risk-taking behavior. We tested this prediction in two studies with healthy participants. In experiment 1, we tested 144 students (24 men) in the laboratory using the Iowa Gambling Task. In experiment 2, we tested 274 participants (104 men) online using the Balloon Analogue Risk Task. In the Iowa Gambling Task, the free will priming condition resulted in more risky decisions than both the deterministic and neutral priming conditions. We observed no priming effects on risk-taking behavior in the Balloon Analogue Risk Task. To explain these unpredicted findings, we consider the somatic marker hypothesis, a gain frequency approach as well as attention to gains and / or inattention to losses. In addition, we highlight the necessity to consider both pro free will and deterministic priming conditions in future studies. Importantly, our and previous results indicate that the effects of pro free will and deterministic priming do not oppose each other on a frequently assumed continuum.

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