The psychology of risk taking: toward the integration of psychometric and neuropsychological paradigms

Am J Psychol. 2008 Fall;121(3):363-76.


The prevention of counterproductive or antisocial risk taking is a research priority. Attempts to understand risk-taking behaviors are dominated by the psychometric and neuropsychological paradigms, which have developed in relative isolation. Previous studies indicate that risk taking is associated with the sensation-seeking personality trait, although the relationship with impulsivity may be complex. Poor risk-related decision making is associated with lesions to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Further research is necessary to establish which forms of risk taking are associated with the 5-factor model of personality and may be influenced by ventromedial prefrontal cortex functioning. The relationship between risk-related decision making and personality traits is also discussed in order to provide a basis for future research adopting an integrated model of risk taking behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Gambling / psychology
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / psychology
  • Individuality
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Personality / classification*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Psychometrics*
  • Risk-Taking*