Medindia
Advertisement

Study Shows How People Learn To Embrace Risk

by Colleen Fleiss on March 19, 2019 at 4:23 AM

Study Shows How People Learn To Embrace Risk
Gender differences in embracing risk are shaped by social environment and culture and that those differences can shift, at least in children, suggested research. Studies have shown women are more risk-averse than men, more likely to opt for the smaller sure thing than gamble on an all-or-nothing proposition, a trait experts say could help to explain the persistent wage gap between men and women. Findings have been published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Liu and co-author Sharon Xuejing Zuo of Fudan University looked at the behavior of children from two distinct cultures - the matrilineal Mosuo and the traditionally patriarchal Han - who attended the same school in Yunnan, China.
Advertisement


When the children first began elementary school, Mosuo girls took more risks than Mosuo boys, while Han girls were less likely to take risks than Han boys, in keeping with their parents' cultural norms. But that began to change as the children were exposed to the other culture.

It worked both ways, Liu said. Mosuo girls became more risk-averse, while Han girls became more risk-loving. "There was a convergence," Liu said. "The Mosuo girls took more risks than Han girls at the beginning, but their attitudes toward taking risks become more similar as they spent more time together."
Advertisement

The researchers studied children in elementary and middle school; Liu said it's not clear whether the changes will be sustained as the children return to their home villages. She and Zuo hope to launch a long-term study to determine if the shift in attitudes toward risk-taking is permanent.

They measured students' attitudes toward risk-taking through a lottery-style game, offering the students six choices ranging from a guaranteed three-yuan payout to a 50/50 percent chance of winning 10 yuan or nothing. Ten yuan would allow the children to buy five notebooks or about five popsicles at a local store; the amount of the reward was chosen after consulting with school principals.

Liu and Zuo conducted their research in Yunnan, a province in southwestern China, because it is one of the few places where children from cultures with distinctly different gender norms come together in one place. But Liu said the basic discovery - that risk aversion is quite malleable at a young age - should be applicable across cultures.

"Gender norms are slow to change, but there are social influences that could play a role in how we shape that behavior," Liu said. And that could have long-term economic consequences, she said, even potentially shrinking the gender pay gap if it led to women choosing riskier but higher-reward career paths.

Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
'Hybrid Immunity' may Help Elude COVID-19 Pandemic
Stroop Effect
Plant-Based Diet may Reduce the Risk of COVID-19
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.


Recommended Reading
Medical Risk Taking Of The Elderly Based On Perceived Benefits
Study shows that age-related differences does not exist in medical risk taking provided the ......
Teens Who Sleep Less More Likely to Take Part in Dangerous Anti-social Behavior
Teenagers who sleep less are more likely be involved in dangerous anti-social behaviors such as ......
Study Shows How the Brain Decides Whether to Hold ‘Em or Fold ‘Em
Insights from the research have the potential to shed light on how soldiers in high-risk combat ......
Teens with Back Pain More Likely to Have Mental Health Problems, Risky Behaviors
Teens who experience back pain are more likely to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and face mental ....

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use