In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at how framing a decision based on what you stand to lose versus what you stand to gain affects your tolerance of risk.
Luis Green was a contestant on the popular TV game show Deal or No Deal. The game is largely one of chance, but there are moments during play where the contestant has an option to accept a cash offer to quit. At one point in the game, Luis was offered $333,000 to simply walk away. A guaranteed win! It seems like an obvious choice. But as you’ll hear from the story, there are other factors that influenced his decision.
Katy illustrates these factors with a version of a famous experiment. Volunteers are presented with two differently worded but mathematically identical scenarios. A simple shift from framing the scenario as a potential gain to one of potential loss results in starkly different choices from the volunteers.
Next, Katy speaks with special guest Daniel Kahneman about the underlying theory that explains human behavior in these types of situations.
Daniel Kahneman is a professor of psychology and public affairs emeritus at the Woodrow Wilson School and the Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology Emeritus at Princeton University. He was awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics for his pioneering research with Amos Tversky. Their work helped establish the field of behavioral economics. Kahneman is also the author of the bestselling book Thinking, Fast and Slow.
Finally, Katy speaks with Colin Camerer about some of his favorite studies on risk seeking in the domain of losses, as well as practical approaches for avoiding this less-than-ideal behavior.
Colin Camerer is the Robert Kirby Professor of Behavioral Finance and Economics at the California Institute of Technology, where he teaches cognitive psychology and economics