Motivationally selective risk judgments: Do fear and curiosity boost the boons or the banes?

Jon K. Maner*, Mary A. Gerend

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Recent theories of judgment and decision-making have focused increasingly on the role of motivation, affect, and other drive states. The current research examined whether specific motivational orientations associated with approach versus avoidance might be linked selectively to judgments of positive versus negative decision outcomes and future events. Findings from three studies suggest that fear-an emotion intrinsically linked to threat avoidance-was more strongly associated with judgments of negative outcomes than judgments of positive outcomes. In contrast, curiosity-a motivational orientation associated with approaching desired information and experiences-was more strongly associated with judgments of positive outcomes than judgments of negative outcomes. Findings are discussed with respect to functionalist theories of motivation and selective cognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-267
Number of pages12
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • Curiosity
  • Fear
  • Likelihood
  • Motivation
  • Outcome judgment
  • Risk perception
  • Utility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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