top of page

Risk as Feelings Theory

Definition 1

This systems model of behavior suggests that the anticipated (expected) utility of a decision is impacted by its emotional consequences, often related to the risk of the outcome. In this way, it is similar to the Utility Expectation Model in associating a utility with the expected emotional consequences of a decision.

Source: Behavioral Science Lab, 2017

Definition 2

‘Consequentialist’ perspectives of decision making under risk or uncertainty (risky-choice theories, see e.g. prospect theory) tend to either focus on cognitive factors alone or consider emotions as an anticipated outcome of a decision. The risk-as-feelings hypothesis (Loewenstein et al., 2001), on the other hand, also includes emotions as an anticipatory factor, namely feelings at the moment of decision making.

In contrast to theories such as the affect heuristic, where feelings play an informational role that help people decide between alternatives, risk-as-feelings can account for cases where choices (e.g. due to severe anxiety associated with traveling on airplanes) diverge from what individuals would objectively consider the best course of action.

Source: Behavioral Economics

bottom of page