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Anxious People Less Likely to Make Risky Decisions

Anxious People Less Likely to Make Risky Decisions

A new study has found that highly anxious individuals exert more cognitive control when they make a risky decision compared with less anxious individuals.

This, in turn, leads to less risky decisions, according to researchers.

For the study, 20 high and 20 low anxious individuals played a risk game while researchers recorded their brain responses via electroencephalogram.

The researchers discovered higher frontal midline theta power in highly anxious individuals during their decisions, which indicates more cognitive control.

Higher frontal midline theta power, in turn, predicted less risky choices, the researchers noted.

“We showed that high anxious individuals also perceived risky situations as riskier, which is in line with the higher amount of cognitive control during their risk choices in the game. Obviously, they try to avoid negative outcomes,” said lead author Dr. Barbara Schmidt of the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena in Germany. “Our study provides a direct link between anxiety, frontal midline theta power, and risky decisions. That is exciting, as it means that frontal midline theta power directly affects behavior.”

The study was published in Psychophysiology.

Source: Wiley

Anxious People Less Likely to Make Risky Decisions

Janice Wood

Janice Wood is a long-time writer and editor who began working at a daily newspaper before graduating from college. She has worked at a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites, covering everything from aviation to finance to healthcare.

APA Reference
Wood, J. (2018). Anxious People Less Likely to Make Risky Decisions. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 28, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 22 Jun 2018)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.