Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

We assess risks differently when they are explicitly described, compared to when we learn directly from experience, suggesting dissociable decision-making systems. Our needs, such as hunger, could globally affect our risk preferences, but do they affect described and learned risks equally? On one hand, explicit decision-making is often considered flexible and contextsensitive, and might therefore be modulated by metabolic needs. On the other hand, implicit preferences learned through reinforcement might be more strongly coupled to biological drives. To answer this, we asked participants to choose between two options with different risks, where the probabilities of monetary outcomes were either described or learned. In agreement with previous studies, rewarding contexts induced risk-aversion when risks were explicitly described, but risk-seeking when they were learned through experience. Crucially, hunger attenuated these contextual biases, but only for learned risks. The results suggest that our metabolic state determines risk-taking biases when we lack explicit descriptions.

Original publication




Journal article

Publication Date