Much research shows that people are loss averse, meaning that they weigh losses more heavily than gains. Drawing on an evolutionary perspective, we propose that although loss aversion might have been adaptive for solving challenges in the domain of self-protection, this may not be true for men in the domain of mating. Three experiments examine how loss aversion is influenced by mating and self-protection motives. Findings reveal that mating motives selectively erased loss aversion in men. In contrast, self-protective motives led both men and women to become more loss averse. Overall, loss aversion appears to be sensitive to evolutionarily important motives, suggesting that it may be a domain-specific bias operating according to an adaptive logic of recurring threats and opportunities in different evolutionary domains.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Journal of personality and social psychology|
|State||Published - Mar 2012|
- Decision biases
- Evolutionary psychology
- Loss aversion