ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 5, Issue 2, 178-190, 2014
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Intolerance of Uncertainty and Immediate Decision-Making in High-Risk Situations

Dane Jensen, Alexandra Jacowitz Kind, Amanda S. Morrison, and Richard G. Heimberg
Psychology Department, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA

Volume 5, Issue 2, 2014, Pages 178-190

Given evidence that individuals high in intolerance of uncertainty (IU; the tendency to experience unknown outcomes as unacceptably threatening) exhibit poorer decision-making strategies and are more behaviorally inhibited in unpredictable situations than those low in IU, the present study sought to elucidate the relationship between IU and decision-making by studying confidence and speed in making repeated decisions in high-risk scenarios with an immediate threat given limited but changing information. Seventy undergraduates high or low in IU completed a repeated decision-making task involving hypothetical risk scenarios and rated their confidence in their decisions, given first two options or then three options from which to select. Response times for each decision were recorded. Individuals high in IU became less confident in their decisions across blocks of decision-making trials, whereas individuals low in IU became more confident in their decisions. Response times did not significantly differ between high IU and low IU individuals. However, individuals high in IU tended to be less likely to change their decision when presented with new information and an additional response option than participants low in IU, although this trend fell just short of statistical significance. Implications for the role of IU in the maintenance of anxiety and depression are discussed.

Table of Contents
  Self-report questionnaires: Screening and experiment measures.
  Self-report questionnaires: Sample description.
  Computerized decision-making task.
 Sample Characteristics
 Decision-Making Confidence
 Decision-Making Response Latency
 Decision-Making Response Change

Correspondence to
Richard G. Heimberg, Adult Anxiety Clinic, Department of Psychology, Temple University, 1701 North 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA

intolerance of uncertainty, IU, decision-making, confidence, anxiety, depression

Received 9 Feb 2013; Revised 17 Sep 2013; Accepted 6 Nov 2013; In Press 11 Jun 2014

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