What is it about?

Game-like (i.e., "gamified") behavioral measures are often employed in psychological research to gauge people's tendencies to engage in risk-taking behaviors. This article examines the role of representative design – that is, the idea that experimental stimuli should be sampled from real life or designed such that they represent the target environment – in achieving valid and reliable psychological assessments. To this end, we focus on a widely used behavioral measure of risk taking, the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART).

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Why is it important?

People differ in their willingness to engage in risk-taking behaviors in various life domains such as sports, finance, or health-relevant behaviors. Given the profound impact that risky behaviors may have on people's lives it is crucial to understand how such decisions are made – in order to help people make better decisions in the future. In other words, being able to capture people's risk preferences with psychological measures is highly important. We highlight some of the limitations that current behavioral measures of risk-taking may have, and propose a way forward towards improving the psychometric properties of these measures.

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This page is a summary of: Representative design in psychological assessment: A case study using the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART)., Journal of Experimental Psychology General, October 2021, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/xge0001036.
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