Speeding up your rate of thought makes you more accept more risk. Are you feeling lucky?
Pop quiz: do you consider yourself a fast thinker or a slow thinker? Time's up! If you took less than a second to answer that, you might be more of a risk-taker.
That's according to new research (via Psychology Today) from a team of Princeton scientists who thought there might be a causal relationship between the speed of a person's thought and their willingness to embrace dangerous behavior, such as illegal drug use and unprotected sex.
The researchers, Emily Pronin and Jesse Chandler, ran two tests in a study that appeared this month in Psychological Science. Participants were divided into two groups. One group was primed by being asked to read a set of trivia statements at twice their normal reading speed, while members of the other group were asked to read the same statements at half-speed.
All the participants were then told to play a standard game that's used to determine risk acceptance. Called the Balloon Analog Risk Task, the game connects a physical button to a computer screen. Each time a player presses the button, a balloon projected onto the screen inflates a little, and the player earns a bit of cash. The balloon will obviously pop if it's over-inflated, but the players have no way of knowing when they've reached that point. If the balloon pops, the player loses all his money.