Thou shalt be safe: risk preferences in choice for sad others

Gerri Spassova, Mauricio Palmeira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This research takes the first step in exploring how the emotions of choice recipients influence the riskiness of decisions made for them by others. In particular, we focus on the role of sadness—an emotion that has been shown to prompt risk-seeking in choices for self. Across five studies, in monetary and social decisions, participants prefer safer options for sad, relative to neutral-affect others, even when the expected value of the safer option is significantly lower than that of the riskier option. The effect is driven by a desire to protect sad others from further loss or disappointment.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Behavioral Decision Making
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • affect
  • choice for other
  • risk preferences
  • sadness

Cite this