Prior methods used to assess individual differences related to risk have not focused on an important component of risk management: how willing individuals are to pay for or take actions to insure what they already have. It is not clear whether this type of protective risk management taps into the same individual differences as does risk taking propensity measured by existing risk taking tasks. We developed a novel task to assess protective risk management, the Balloon Analog Insurance Task (BAIT), which is modeled after the Balloon Analog Risk Task (BART). In the BAIT, individuals are forced to decide how much money they are willing to pay in order to insure a specific fraction of their prior winnings given changing but imprecise levels of risk of monetary loss. Participants completed the BART and BAIT for real monetary rewards, and completed six self report questionnaires. The amount of insurance purchased on the BAIT was positively correlated with scores on the Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale and on the Checking scale of the revised Obsessive Compulsive Inventory. Conversely, the amount of insurance purchased was negatively correlated with scores on the Domain Specific Risk Taking Questionnaire, and on the Psychopathic Personality Inventory (PPI). Furthermore, relationships between insurance purchased and these scales remained significant after controlling for the BART in linear regression analyses, and the BART was only a significant predictor for measures on one scale - the PPI. Our results reveal that behavior on the BAIT taps into a number of individual differences that are not related to behavior on another measure of risk taking. We propose that the BAIT may provide a useful complement to the BART in the assessment of risk management style.
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