Reflections of the Self: How Self-Esteem Determines Decision Framing and Increases Risk Taking

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Todd McElroy Ph.D. (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: Historically, research examining the influence of individual personality factors on decision processing has been sparse. In this paper we investigate how one important individual aspect, self-esteem, influences imposition and subsequent processing of ambiguously, negatively or positively framed decision tasks. We hypothesized that low self-esteem individuals would impose a negative frame onto ambiguous decision problems and would be especially sensitive to negatively framed decision tasks. In Study 1 we utilized a self-framing procedure and demonstrated that HSE participants were evenly divided in the hedonic valence they self-imposed whereas LSE participants were more likely to self-impose a negative frame. When these differences were accounted for, HSE and LSE participants were equivalent in risk seeking/avoiding choices. Study 2 used a risky-choice framing task and found that LSE individuals were especially sensitive to the negative frame. Study 3, provided converging evidence and generalization of these findings to a reflection tasks involving money.

Additional Information

McElroy, T., Seta, J. J., & Waring, D. (2007). Reflections of the Self: How Self-esteem Imposes onto Risky-choice Framing Tasks. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 20: 223-240. Published by Wiley InterScience (ISSN: 0894-3257). DOI: 10.1002/bdm.551 The definitive version is available at
Language: English
Date: 2007

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