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Acta Psychol (Amst). 2000 Jun;104(3):283-301.

Effects of time-pressure on decision-making under uncertainty: changes in affective state and information processing strategy.

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  • 1Leeds University Business School, University of Leeds, UK. jm@lubs.leeds.ac.uk


An experiment is reported that investigated the extent to which affective state, information processing strategy and task structure determine the effects of time-pressure on decision-making. Research participants were presented with risk scenarios involving a choice between safe and risky actions. The scenarios were systematically varied in terms of outcome valence (positive or negative) and effort associated with taking the safe action (high or low). Half the participants were given unlimited time to make their decision, the other half were required to choose within a deadline. The findings showed that time-pressured participants were more anxious and energetic and used a number of different strategies to cope with the deadline. These effects, as well as changes in risk-taking, were shown to vary systematically with task structure, particularly the effort manipulation. The findings are discussed in terms of how they contribute to theories of time-pressure and the methodological implications they have for future research in this area.

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