Arousal and Risk Taking: The Moderating Role of Reappraisal


Researchers have provided important insight into the cognitive and emotional aspects of risk taking. In the present study we investigated how incidental physiological arousal — an affective component that has received relatively little attention — influences risk taking and cognitive processing. Moreover, to gain further insight into the relation between arousal and risky decision making, we examined the moderating role of the reappraisal strategy of emotion regulation. We found that incidental physiological arousal and intuitive processing predicted a higher likelihood of risk taking, whereas analytical processing predicted a lower likelihood of risk taking. Furthermore, we found that the relationship between physiological arousal and risk taking was stronger among individuals low on habitual cognitive reappraisal. Overall, the present study contributes to dual process theories of decision making and a growing line of research on emotion regulation and risk taking. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.

Academy of Management Proceedings