The Psychology of Risk Taking Behavior

Advances in Psychology

Book 107
Elsevier
4
Free sample

This book aims to help the reader to understand what motivates people to engage in risk taking behavior, such as participating in traffic, sports, financial investments, or courtship. The consequences of risk taking may be positive, or result in accidents and injuries, especially in traffic. The wealth of studies and theories (about 1000 references) is used to offer a cohesive, holistic view of risk motivation. The risk motivation theory is a dynamic state-trait model incorporating physiological, emotional and cognitive components of risk perception, processing and planning. If a deficit exists between desired and perceived risk, risk compensation behavior results. A feedback loop provides new information for the next perception-motivation-behavior process. Assumptions were tested and support was found with 120 subjects in a longitudinal study. The concepts and findings are discussed in relation to psychological theories and their meaning for our daily lives.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Elsevier
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Published on
Apr 28, 1994
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9780080867618
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Language
English
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Genres
Psychology / Clinical Psychology
Psychology / Cognitive Psychology & Cognition
Psychology / Experimental Psychology
Psychology / Industrial & Organizational Psychology
Psychology / Social Psychology
Technology & Engineering / Industrial Health & Safety
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Component cognitive processes have played a critical role in the development of experimental aging research and theory in psychology as attested by articles published on this theme. However, in the last five to ten years, there has been a substantial increase in the number of articles attempting to isolate a single factor (or small subset of factors) responsible for age differences in information processing. This view of aging is frequently termed the complexity model of the generalized slowing model, the primary assumption being that age differences in cognition are due simply to a relatively larger performance decrement on the part of older adults (compared to younger adults) as task complexity increases. Because generalized complexity theorists have questioned the utility of using component cognitive processes as theoretical constructs, the editors feel it is time to restate why component cognitive processes are critical to any thorough understanding of age differences in cognition. Thus the present edited volume represents an attempt to demonstrate the utility of the process-specific approach to cognitive aging. Central to this effort are illustrations of how regression analyses may provide evidence for general slowing by maximizing explained variance while at the same time obscuring local sources of variance.

The book concentrates on age differences in word and language processing, because these factors relate to reading which is a critical cognitive process used in everyday life. Furthermore, age differences in word and language processing illustrate the importance of taking component cognitive processes into consideration. The breadth of coverage of the book attests to the wide range of cognitive processes involved in word and language processing.

In this book the editors have gathered a number of contributions by persons who have been working on problems of Cognitive Technology (CT). The present collection initiates explorations of the human mind via the technologies the mind produces. These explorations take as their point of departure the question What happens when humans produce new technologies? Two interdependent perspectives from which such a production can be approached are adopted:

• How and why constructs that have their origins in human mental life are embodied in physical environments when people fabricate their habitat, even to the point of those constructs becoming that very habitat

• How and why these fabricated habitats affect, and feed back into, human mental life.

The aim of the CT research programme is to determine, in general, which technologies, and in particular, which interactive computer-based technologies, are humane with respect to the cognitive development and evolutionary adaptation of their end users. But what does it really mean to be humane in a technological world? To shed light on this central issue other pertinent questions are raised, e.g.

• Why are human minds externalised, i.e., what purpose does the process of externalisation serve?

• What can we learn about the human mind by studying how it externalises itself?

• How does the use of externalised mental constructs (the objects we call 'tools') change people fundamentally?

• To what extent does human interaction with technology serve as an amplification of human cognition, and to what extent does it lead to a atrophy of the human mind?

The book calls for a reflection on what a tool is. Strong parallels between CT and environmentalism are drawn: both are seen as trends having originated in our need to understand how we manipulate, by means of the tools we have created, our natural habitat consisting of, on the one hand, the cognitive environment which generates thought and determines action, and on the other hand, the physical environment in which thought and action are realised. Both trends endeavour to protect the human habitat from the unwanted or uncontrolled impact of technology, and are ultimately concerned with the ethics and aesthetics of tool design and tool use.

Among the topics selected by the contributors to the book, the following themes emerge (the list is not exhaustive): using technology to empower the cognitively impaired; the ethics versus aesthetics of technology; the externalisation of emotive and affective life and its special dialectic ('mirror') effects; creativity enhancement: cognitive space, problem tractability; externalisation of sensory life and mental imagery; the engineering and modelling aspects of externalised life; externalised communication channels and inner dialogue; externalised learning protocols; relevance analysis as a theoretical framework for cognitive technology.

The definitive firsthand account of the groundbreaking research of Philip Zimbardo—the basis for the award-winning film The Stanford Prison Experiment

Renowned social psychologist and creator of the Stanford Prison Experiment Philip Zimbardo explores the mechanisms that make good people do bad things, how moral people can be seduced into acting immorally, and what this says about the line separating good from evil.

The Lucifer Effect explains how—and the myriad reasons why—we are all susceptible to the lure of “the dark side.” Drawing on examples from history as well as his own trailblazing research, Zimbardo details how situational forces and group dynamics can work in concert to make monsters out of decent men and women. 

Here, for the first time and in detail, Zimbardo tells the full story of the Stanford Prison Experiment, the landmark study in which a group of college-student volunteers was randomly divided into “guards” and “inmates” and then placed in a mock prison environment. Within a week the study was abandoned, as ordinary college students were transformed into either brutal, sadistic guards or emotionally broken prisoners.

By illuminating the psychological causes behind such disturbing metamorphoses, Zimbardo enables us to better understand a variety of harrowing phenomena, from corporate malfeasance to organized genocide to how once upstanding American soldiers came to abuse and torture Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib. He replaces the long-held notion of the “bad apple” with that of the “bad barrel”—the idea that the social setting and the system contaminate the individual, rather than the other way around.

This is a book that dares to hold a mirror up to mankind, showing us that we might not be who we think we are. While forcing us to reexamine what we are capable of doing when caught up in the crucible of behavioral dynamics, though, Zimbardo also offers hope. We are capable of resisting evil, he argues, and can even teach ourselves to act heroically. Like Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem and Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate, The Lucifer Effect is a shocking, engrossing study that will change the way we view human behavior.

Praise for The Lucifer Effect

“The Lucifer Effect will change forever the way you think about why we behave the way we do—and, in particular, about the human potential for evil. This is a disturbing book, but one that has never been more necessary.”—Malcolm Gladwell

“An important book . . . All politicians and social commentators . . . should read this.”—The Times (London)

“Powerful . . . an extraordinarily valuable addition to the literature of the psychology of violence or ‘evil.’”—The American Prospect

“Penetrating . . . Combining a dense but readable and often engrossing exposition of social psychology research with an impassioned moral seriousness, Zimbardo challenges readers to look beyond glib denunciations of evil-doers and ponder our collective responsibility for the world’s ills.”—Publishers Weekly

“A sprawling discussion . . . Zimbardo couples a thorough narrative of the Stanford Prison Experiment with an analysis of the social dynamics of the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.”—Booklist

“Zimbardo bottled evil in a laboratory. The lessons he learned show us our dark nature but also fill us with hope if we heed their counsel. The Lucifer Effect reads like a novel.”—Anthony Pratkanis, Ph.D., professor emeritus of psychology, University of California
Component cognitive processes have played a critical role in the development of experimental aging research and theory in psychology as attested by articles published on this theme. However, in the last five to ten years, there has been a substantial increase in the number of articles attempting to isolate a single factor (or small subset of factors) responsible for age differences in information processing. This view of aging is frequently termed the complexity model of the generalized slowing model, the primary assumption being that age differences in cognition are due simply to a relatively larger performance decrement on the part of older adults (compared to younger adults) as task complexity increases. Because generalized complexity theorists have questioned the utility of using component cognitive processes as theoretical constructs, the editors feel it is time to restate why component cognitive processes are critical to any thorough understanding of age differences in cognition. Thus the present edited volume represents an attempt to demonstrate the utility of the process-specific approach to cognitive aging. Central to this effort are illustrations of how regression analyses may provide evidence for general slowing by maximizing explained variance while at the same time obscuring local sources of variance.

The book concentrates on age differences in word and language processing, because these factors relate to reading which is a critical cognitive process used in everyday life. Furthermore, age differences in word and language processing illustrate the importance of taking component cognitive processes into consideration. The breadth of coverage of the book attests to the wide range of cognitive processes involved in word and language processing.

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