Date Published: 13 September 2006

Where do risk-takers draw the line ? (Leeds University Online Survey)

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Are obvious risk-takers, such as gamblers and adrenaline junkies, risky in general, or is their chancy behaviour restricted to a narrow area of their lives?

University of Leeds researchers are using an online survey to discover if risk-taking is a general personality trait.

Sue Grant and Drs Rebecca Lawton and Mitch Waterman in Leeds' Institute of Psychological Sciences have developed the GRAB (general risk accessibility and behaviour) questionnaire, which asks people if they've had the opportunity to take particular risks and if so, whether they actually engaged in that behaviour.

The web-based questionnaire covers all areas of life, including sex, drugs, gambling, driving, around the house, travel and social interactions; from the very mundane (leaving upstairs windows open when leaving the house) to the extreme (injecting heroin). It aims to show if certain people are ?general' risk takers, engaging in risky behaviours across all aspects of life; or if people tend to stick to taking risks only in narrow domains.

The study also seeks to find out how your emotional state may alter the likelihood of engaging in risky activities. Could fear reduce the chance of acting in a risky manner, while anger increases it? And if so, does it depend on whether someone is a general risk taker, or someone who behaves in this manner only in a narrow range of activities?

? So are you a general risk taker ? ”Asks Dr Waterman,

Or do you think you are always careful, and wary of taking risks ? Are you aware of acting dangerously at times, but typically err on the side of caution ?

_ We all take risks on a daily basis, but clearly some of us take more risks than others. Men, for example, are well known to take more risks than women and younger people take more risks than those who are older, something which is reflected in insurance premiums.

_ However these aren't the only differences ? the tendency to take risks has been linked with aspects of personality. Risk-takers are thought to be more optimistic in their outlook, more extrovert and impulsive but the evidence of a relationship between personality and risk taking isn't consistent. However, if it is an enduring general trait then it would be sensible to look at some biological or genetic mechanism. "

 

Complete the questionnaire by going to http://www.psyc.leeds.ac.uk/q/riskquestionnaire or alternatively for a paper version call on 0113 343 6694 or email psc1sag@leeds.ac.uk


Source: Leeds University, England (UK)
http://www.leeds.ac.uk

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