What is an extreme outcome in risky choice?

AbstractNumerous experiments have suggested that extreme outcomes are disproportionately influential when we make decisions involving risk, but there is less consensus on what it actually means to be extreme. Existing accounts broadly fall into two categories: those that suggest that the best and worst outcomes are uniquely influential and those that suggest that outcomes become more influential with increasing deviation from the centre of the distribution. We conducted two experiments that aimed to tease apart these explanations. Although there was some evidence that the distance from the centre influences memory, neither account was able to fully explain the choices made by participants. This finding has implications for the viability of these explanations as well as for the generalisability of the effect and the interpretation of the method used to assess memory.

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