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An Experiment to investigate Whether People Make Riskier Decisions in Groups or Individually

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Introduction

An Experiment to investigate Whether People Make Riskier Decisions in Groups or Individually By Sapphire Mason-Brown Word Count: 1390 Contents Abstract...................................................2 Background..............................................3 Method....................................................4 Results...................................................5 Discussion........................................................7 References..............................................8 Appendix I...............................................9 Appendix II.............................................10 Appendix III............................................11 Appendix IV...........................................12 Abstract: An occupational psychology investigation was carried out to assess the theory that people in groups make riskier decisions than individuals. This was investigated using an experiment. The sample consisted of 30 males and 30 females aged 16-19 from a selective sixth form college in London. The participants, individually or in a group of four had to rate the likelihood that they would gamble money in a scenario on a nine point rating scale. The result were not significant at the 5% level meaning that it was not possible to state that group decisions are riskier than individual decisions. Background: The context of this occupational psychology study is whether people make riskier decisions in groups or individually. This study is based on the 1961 study by Stoner. Stoner presented scenarios where the main character had to make a decision to business studies students. They had to decide upon an acceptable level of risk. Stoner found that people make riskier decisions when they are in groups. ...read more.

Middle

Controls Standardised procedures and instructions were used during the experiment (appendix III). Participants were randomly assigned to each group using the ABBA method controlling for participant variables. Equal amounts of people from each gender were in each condition controlling for participant variables. The scenario and experimental conditions were the same for all participants. Ethics All participants gave their consent; informed consent could not be given due to demand characteristics. Participants were aware that the results were anonymous and confidential and that they could leave the experiment at any time. Distressing questions weren't asked and participants were de-briefed. Data The dependant variable was measured using the nine point rating scale question, "How likely is it that you would gamble the money in this double-or-nothing situation? � 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 This gave ordinal data. Results Descriptive Statistics Summary table to show three measures of central tendency and one measure of dispersion for the rating of likelihood of gambling money in the given scenario for the individual condition and the group condition on a 9 point rating scale (where 1 is highly likely) Individual Decision Making Condition Group Decision Making Condition Mean 5.83 5.33 Median 7 4.5 Mode 7 3 Range 7 6 These calculations appear in appendix II. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore, some of the participants may not have given the response they believed to be true. To improve this problem, the sample could be given the scenario and told that they could return it whenever they chose to. However, this could result in low response rates. The investigation had positive attributes. During the course of the investigations, ethical guidelines where followed and the results although not generalisable to wider society, were generalisable to 16-19 year olds from selective sixth form colleges in London. The results suggested that group decisions aren't riskier than individual decisions. However, it is possible that there is an optimum group size that results in the Risky Shift. To investigate this further the experiment could be repeated with group size as the independent variable. It is possible that a group size of four is not sufficient to generate the Risky Shift. This investigation could be applied to group situations such as team sports. When decisions are made as a team, some may assume that players are more likely to play in a risky way. They may take more of an offensive position than a defensive position. However, this study suggests that this may not be the case; players may play with the same level or risk as they would without group decisions. ...read more.

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