There has been a lot of research on the effects of stress and emotion and how they independently impact our ability to make decisions. This paper sought to tackle how these factors could influence each other and the resulting impact on decision making ability with regard to financial, social and moral decisions. This paper also considered the factor of past experiences which has been little researched in regard to decision making. This research was conducted via survey. The first part of the survey involved four pairs of decision tasks and one decision task that every participant completed while the second part involved participants responding to a number of scales that measured factors such as mood, stress and past experiences. Based off past literature, it was hypothesized that increase in worry/anxiety and stress would lead to more risk seeking behavior. A correlation table was developed to highlight relationships between choices and the factors. A chi-square test and ANOVA were employed to further analyze the relationships for significance. The choice in the framing decision had a significant positive with perceived stress indicating that increased stress leads to a greater risk seeking behavior. There was also an interaction between stress and how the situation was framed indicating that if the situation was presented to participants in the form of gains, those who picked the gamble option reported experiencing significantly more stress than those who picked the certain option. However, this was not the case when framed in the form of losses.


Wilhelms, Evan


Neuroscience; Psychology


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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