Different studies have documented opposite relations between perceived risk and behavior. The present study tested a theoretical explanation that reconciles these conflicting results. Adolescents (N= 596) completed alternative measures of risk perception that differed in cue specificity and response format. As predicted by fuzzy-trace theory, measures that emphasized verbatim retrieval and quantitative processing produced positive correlations between perceived risk and risky behavior; risk perceptions reflected the extent to which adolescents engaged in risky behavior. In contrast, measures that assessed global, gist-based judgments of risk produced negative correlations; higher risk perceptions were associated with less risk taking, a protective rather than reflective relation. Endorsement of simple values and principles provided the greatest protection against risk taking. Results support a dual-processes interpretation of the relation between risk perception and risk taking according to which observed relations depend on whether the cues in questions trigger verbatim or gist processing.