Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Michael Wallach and Nathan Kogan (1959) devised the Choice Dilemmas Questionnaire (Appendix A) for scaling the propensity of individuals to take risks. The Choice Dilemmas Questionnaire (CDQ) requires the respondent to indicate the lowest probability of success he would accept before he would advise the central figure in each of 12 hypothetical decision situations to choose the riskier--but more attractive--of two options. Accepting slimmer chances of success (higher risks of failure) yields a iowei (riskier) seoi-e. The t>core on a given item can range from a risky low of one chance in ten to a conservative high--in most experiments--of ten in ten, indicating refusal to take any risk at all. Stoner (1961) arranged for subjects to discuss the 12 issues in groups and discovered that unanimous decisions were usually riskier than the mean of previous individual scores. Furthermore, after discussing the issues, individuals by themselves tended to register riskier* averages than they had on the pretests. This tendency for group or individual scores to reflect increased riskiness after a discussion has been termed the "risky shift", and it has been the subject of extensive subsequent investigation. For two of the 12 hypothetical situations, however, scores have frequently reflected less riskiness following discussion, an effect referred to as "cautious shift".



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