Behavioral Perspectives on Risk Prone Behavior: Why Do People Take Risks?

  •  Shelby Wolf    
  •  Daniel Houlihan    


Utilizing the principles and concepts of behavioral economics and operant psychology, researchers in both fields initiated the creation of the optimal foraging theory. This theory describes foraging behaviors mostly within animals other than humans. However, within recent empirical studies, optimal foraging theory has been modified to explain risky choices and decision-making processes within the context of risk-sensitive foraging theory for both animals and humans alike. Although most individuals belonging to the homo sapiensspecies would not like to admit that their behavior is very animalistic in nature, there is a great deal of veracity behind this idea, ranging from explaining gambling behavior to addictive behaviors to even homicide. Risk prone behavior describes behavior elicited for the potential gain of rewards under certain conditions, usually competitive in nature. The purpose of the current paper is to shed some light on this topic and how it relates to the most primitive of behaviors exhibited by human beings. 

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