In the course of history, it is evident that humans have evolved or progressedthru risk taking. As a matter of fact, it can be concluded that human activities can be assumed as comprising a component of risk. For instance, as a child, when you take your first step, you risk falling down, when you try a new diet, you risk being sickened; as you ride a motorcycle, you risk falling over(Hardy et.al, 2013). In summary, humans and risk are tangled together and that is why it is not surprising that, in spite of the risk-averse people that seem to have lately evolved, numerousindividualsstill crave danger, enjoyment, and risk.This element of risk can be clearly be illustrated in the recentthriving of high-risk actionsfor example, bungee jumping and skydiving (Hardy et.al, 2013).
However, the long-termassessmentat this point is, people who take part in high-risk undertakingsform a distinctuniform group referred to as sensation seekers (Hardy et.al, 2013). And yet, there are a number of risk takers who seem to be inspired by something extra. For instance, there is the story of George Mallory’s determinedquestto reach thepeak of Mount Everest in the early 1920s, which was the main factor that led to his death inthe year 1924, this can barely be deliberatedas sensation seeking (Hardy et.al, 2013). According to Zuckerman, sensation seekers showanenthusiasm to take risks with the sole interest of experiencing the sensation rewards of sensation-seeking actionsfor instance, drug use ordangerous driving(Zuckerman, 1994). However, according to other scholars, sensation seeking is evidentlyanunrewarding theoretical viewpoint from which to comprehend the motives for such practices (Hardy et.al, 2013).
In the world of gambling, the primary motivation for any gambler is to win money, it is largely supposed that the related thrill and enjoymentachievessignificant conditioned inducement and underpinningroles that motivate the behavior. Increases inphysiological stimulation, especially in heart rate, have been established in numerous studies of gambling behavior both in the normal environment along with the laboratory setting(Wulfert, 2011).Equated with research conducted in the real-world setting, laboratory research studies typically allow only better experimental regulation of the variables which are under analysis. However, there is a majorlimitationof laboratory analogs (Wulfert, 2011). This experiments normally fail to mimic the real-world of gambling because they may not effectively model the level of reward and mainly not the level of risk comprised in actual gambling. Therefore, the outcomes of analog studies may be of partial value in trying to understand the role of arousal and pleasurelinkedwith gambling (Wulfert, 2011).
In spite of the limitation in laboratory studies, analyzing the topic on reward expectancies in analog research of gambling, laboratory studies have persuasivelyrevealedthat there is anassociation of reward for both physiological arousal and psychological enjoyment or excitement (Wulfert, 2011). For instance, in a conducted research, the participants typically showedconsiderablyhigher heart rates in a gambling modelparticularly when they play for anopportunity of winning actual money as opposed tovaluelesspoints (Wulfert, 2011). Presently, there are only two known theories which try to show the reasons for risky decision making amongst gambles where the probabilities and values of the differentprobable results are well stated(Miller, 1969).One of these theories is the one forwarded by Edwards.
This theory by Edwards does not concern us directly as individuals, however, it assumesthat a decision maker assesses (either objectively or subjectively) every single gamble exclusivelyin terms of its anticipated value to him or her. The outcome of this assessmentbasically produces an ordering on every set of gambles which matchthe decision maker’s preference or inclination ordering amongst the set’s gambles(Edwards, 1962).The second theory, which mainly concerns us as individuals, assumes that the decision makerassesses a gamble in no less thantwo ways: in terms of anticipated value and in terms of observed riskiness (Coombs, 1967).Here, adesired order is achieved by joining the two kinds of assessments in some fashion.
In a nutshell, a number offeatures of a gamble may defineits riskiness, for example, the chance that a defeat will occur, the completeextent of possible loss or thedifference of possible results. Therefore, one might assumethat with a gamble’s anticipated value heldconstant, its riskiness is definitelylinked to every single of these risk determiners(Miller, 1969). As a matter of fact, for two-resultor outcome gambles, these determiners are also linked to each other, thereby generatinganincomplete confounding amongst them(Miller, 1969).The above theories (Decision theories)mainly direct themselves to the likelihood of choice but only at a single point in time, thereby categorized as theories of static behavior. This is because they reveal little about the varying patternsof selections over time.
In Atkinson’s theory on the motivation factors of risk taking behavior, he forwards that, an individual’s inclination to pursue achievement on any particularundertaking is a multiplicative roleof his or her intrinsicmotivation to pursueachievement. Based on the above argument, it can therefore, be concluded that reward does influence behavior.
Coombs, C. H. (1967), some risky decision theories. Paper presented at the meeting of the Psychometric Society, Madison, Wisconsin.
Edwards, W. (1962), Subjective probabilities inferred from decisions. Psychological Review, 69, 109-135.
Hardy, L. et.al, (2013), Great Expectations: Different High-Risk Activities Satisfy Different Motives:Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 105, No. 3, 458–475.
Miller, L. (1969), choice among equal expected value alternatives: sequential effects of winning probability level on risk preferences: Journal o/ Experimental Psychology, Vol. 79, No. 3, 419-423.
Wulfert, E. (2011), The Effects of Realistic Reward and Risk on SimulatedGambling Behavior:The American Journal on Addictions, 20: 120–126.
Zuckerman, M. (1994). Behavioral expressions and biosocial bases of sensation seeking. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.