From gloom to doom: Financial loss and negative affect prime risk averse preferences
Previous research has shown that risk preferences are sensitive to the financial domain in which they are framed. In the present study we explore whether the effect of valence priming on risk taking is moderated by the financial context under consideration. A total of 260 participants completed an online questionnaire where risky choices were elicited for seven different financial scenarios. Participants were allocated to different valence (neutral, positive or negative) and arousal (low or high) priming conditions. Two factors were extracted: Factor 1 (Negative) included insurance and possibility of loss, whilst Factor 2 (Positive) included the remaining five scenarios (investment, salary, pension, possibility of gain, and mortgage). Moreover, only negative priming—regardless of arousal level—influenced people’s risky choices by inducing more risk-averse behavior; this effect was confined only to loss and insurance domains. The findings call into question the generalizability of priming effects on different financial context and show that the effects of priming on financial risk taking are sensitive to the financial context under consideration.