Risk-takinghas been studied from many different perspectives—such as economics,psychological, clinical practice, behavioral analysis, and health relatedfields—and has different definitions. In a clinical or lay sense, riskybehaviors are those that could result in harm for oneself or others, but thedecision to engage in risky behaviors could result in a variety of undesirableends, not just physical harm. The psychological factors that impact a human’sdesire to take risks, seek adventure, and/or live dangerously is livingbeneficially. It impacts the young, just developing curious minds; thedifference in gender; and through adolescence can also influence riskybehaviors. Youngerminds take risk taking to a whole new level. Younger minds take risks becausethey don’t know the effects of their actions when taking risks, It’s their wayof learning about the new world. Risking taking through curiosity has been amotivation for learning and a cause of non-sanctioned behaviors and behavioraldisorders. Opdal defines curiosity in contrast to wonder; whereas curiosity isa state of confidence and fixed interest to find something out, wonder is thestate of awe associated with being struck by the strangeness of the events met.
Litman (2005) conceptualized curiosity as reflecting quantitatively andqualitatively distinct but overlapping experiences of interest in learningsomething new and feelings of knowledge-deprivation due to uncertainty.Curiosity has been defined as the desire to learn or know about anything or ageneral state of inquisitiveness and the threshold of uncertainty that leads toexploration. Curious people may experience an intense and immediate desire forinformation and even seek it out “against their better judgment” (Loewenstein,1994, p.
86). The explanation for why people would take such risks is that theywere presented with the opportunity and they were interested in having the newexperience. This may be because they can’t grasp all the possible outcomes ofrisky behaviors. Curiosity is a motivating force behind risky decisionmeasuring how adolescents represent their own risk taking to themselves and toothers.
The environment plays a huge role as well for young adults because itcan influence risk taking thoughts. Duzel, Bunzeck, Guitart-Masip, and Duzel(2010) found that increased exposure to novelty at a young age predictsincreased cognitive functioning and motivation in older adults. Thus, it mighttranslate to the fact that allowing novelty-seeking in the classroom decreasesthe likelihood of maladaptive novelty-seeking. For example, novelty seeking inthe classroom might take the form of asking questions or further investigationin the assigned science experiment than what is instructed. Maladaptivenovelty-seeking on the playground, on the other hand, might look like cheatingon a test or skipping class. Research has shown that risky play may not only bedevelopmentally positive, but also inevitable, thus increasing an understandingof contextual factors that influence risk-taking is very important (Steinberg,2008).
Theexistence of gender differences in propensity to take risks has been documentedin a large number of questionnaire and experimental studies. For example, ameta-analysis by Byrnes, Miller, and Schafer (1999) reviewed over 150 papers ongender differences in risk perception. They concluded that the literature”clearly” indicated that “male participants are more likely to take risks thanfemale participants” (p. 377). In one important study that provides a backdropfor the present investigation, Weber, Blais, and Betz (2002) assessed the risksthat men and women perceived in behaviors spanning five different contentdomains (financial, health/safety, recreational, ethical, and socialdecisions). Gender differences were found in four of the five domains — socialdecision making being the exception — with males perceiving less risk andindicating a greater likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors. Similar genderdifferences have been found in these domains in a large German sample (Johnson,Wilke, & Weber, 2004).
Hillier and Morrongiello (1998) examined genderdifferences in perceptions involved in physical risk taking in children. Usingpictorial descriptions (e.g., riding bicycle with no helmet in street) and aninterview to determine how children assessed risks, they found that girlsappraised more general risk (i.
e., judged the situations as more unsafe) thanboys. The genders also differed in the factors that contributed to theiroverall risk judgments. Boys’ risk judgments were significantly predicted bytheir ratings of injury severity while girls’ risk judgments were betterpredicted by their ratings of vulnerability to any type of injury. Thissuggests that girls may avoid risky situations with any likelihood of perceivedinjury and boys may avoid risky situations only if the possible perceivedinjuries are judged as being severe. As noted above, the literature with adultshas not examined whether the genders differ in their evaluations of (1) thelikelihood of potential negative outcomes and (2) their appraisals of theseverity of these potential outcomes. In adults, either or both of theseaspects of risk may mediate gender differences in engaging in “risky”behaviors. Adolescentsand college-age individuals take more risks than children or adults do, asindicated by statistics on automobile crashes, binge drinking, contraceptiveuse, and crime; but trying to understand why risk taking is more common duringadolescence than during other periods of development has challengedpsychologists for decades (Steinberg 2004).
Statistics relating to adolescentengagement in risky behaviors indicate that adolescents drive faster thanadults, have the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases (Irwin, 1993),have the highest rates of self-reported drug use, and commit the vast majorityof crimes (Arnett, 1996). Statistics published for the United States by theNational Center for Health Statistics (1989, 1990) indicated an increase inmortality of 214% from early to late adolescence. Furthermore, adolescent boysdie at more than twice the rate of girls (Irwin, 1993). The statistics onadolescent accidents and morbidity also indicate that primary causes ofmorbidity during adolescence are behavioral in origin with violence and intentionaland unintentional injuries producing nearly 75% of all adolescent deaths peryear (Crunbaum & Basen-Engquist, 1993; Irwin, 1993). Systematic researchdoes not support the stereotype of adolescents as irrational individuals whobelieve they are invulnerable and who are unaware, inattentive to, orunconcerned about the potential harms of risky behavior. In fact, thelogical-reasoning abilities of 15-year-olds are comparable to those of adults,adolescents are no worse than adults at perceiving risk or estimating theirvulnerability to it (Reyna & Farley, 2006), and increasing the salience ofthe risks associated with making a potentially dangerous decision hascomparable effects on adolescents and adults (Millstein & Halpern-Felsher,2002).
Most studies find few age differences in individuals’ evaluations of therisks inherent in a wide range of dangerous behaviors, in judgments about theseriousness of the consequences that might result from risky behavior, or inthe ways that the relative costs and benefits of risky activities are evaluated(Beyth-Marom, Austin, Fischoff, Palmgren, & Jacobs-Quadrel, 1993). Attemptsto reduce adolescent risk taking through interventions designed to alterknowledge, attitudes, or beliefs have proven remarkably disappointing, however(Steinberg, 2004). Efforts to provide adolescents with information about therisks of substance use, reckless driving, and unprotected sex typically resultin improvements in young people’s thinking about these phenomena but seldomchange their actual behavior. Generally speaking, reductions in adolescents’health-compromising behavior are more strongly linked to changes in thecontexts in which those risks are taken (e.g., increases in the price ofcigarettes, enforcement of graduated licensing programs, more vigorouslyimplemented policies to interdict drugs, or condom distribution programs) thanto changes in what adolescents know or believe.
The failure to account for agedifferences in risk taking through studies of reasoning and knowledge stymiedresearchers for some time. Health educators, however, have been undaunted, andthey have continued to design and offer interventions of unproveneffectiveness, such as Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE), driver’seducation, or abstinence-only sex education. Thepsychological factors that impact a human’s desire to take risks, seekadventure, and/or live dangerously is living beneficially.
It impacts theyoung, just developing curious minds; the difference in gender; and throughadolescence can also influence risky behaviors. Young humans are a big contribution to risk taking factors because oftheir young curious mindset in the world. The difference in gender is part ofrisk taking factors because it shows the difference in how which gender is moreriskier than the other and tells how they are like that. Adolescence is a majorpart of risky behavior because it sums up teens with binge drinking, recklessdriving , and unprotected coitus which is why adolescence is part of riskybehavior. WorkCitedArnett, J. (1996).Sensation seeking, aggressiveness, and adolescent reckless behavior.
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