Role of Mindfulness in Economic Risk-Taking
MetadataShow full item record
Despite evidence of mindfulness’ effects in down-regulating risk-taking associated with mental and physical health, there is almost no research examining mindfulness’ role in economic risk-taking. To address this gap, across three studies, I tested the association between dispositional mindfulness (Study 1: N=505; Study 2: N=191), and a brief intervention (Study 3: N=161), on economic risk-taking and the optimality of those risky decisions. In an MTurk sample, dispositional mindfulness was weakly and negatively correlated with risk-taking in an independent gambles task, in which risk-taking was optimal on average. In the same sample, dispositional mindfulness was negatively correlated with risk-taking in a Multiple Price List (MPL) gambles task, in which individuals higher on dispositional mindfulness took fewer optimal risks. However, in an undergraduate sample, dispositional mindfulness was positively associated with risk-taking in the MPL gambles task, with individuals higher on dispositional mindfulness taking more optimal risks (specifically at 1 SD). Also, a brief mindfulness intervention in undergraduates increased risk-taking in the hot-Columbia Card Task (CCT), albeit higher risk-taking in the CCT was non-optimal. I also hypothesized that, in tasks that engaged affective processes (i.e., independent gambles and CCT), mindfulness’ effects on risk-taking would depend on an individual’s trait neuroticism. In the independent gambles task, for those higher on dispositional mindfulness, neuroticism was positively correlated with optimal risk-taking. But at lower levels of dispositional mindfulness, the neuroticism-risk-taking relationship was reversed. In the CCT, there was no significant mindfulness by neuroticism interaction due to overarching sex differences. The predicted mindfulness by neuroticism interaction was found in women: for women in the control condition, higher neuroticism was positively associated with non-optimal risk-taking, but for those in the mindfulness condition the neuroticism-risk-taking relationship was suppressed. However, for men in the control condition, higher neuroticism was negatively associated with non-optimal risk-taking, but in mindfulness condition men showed an overall increase in non-optimal risk-taking. The role of affect, testosterone and cortisol, and cognitive appraisals were tested as mechanisms, however these analyses did not yield any consistent results. Together the findings from this dissertation highlight the nuanced and complex nature of mindfulness’ association with economic risk-taking.