Risky Choices

How do humans make risky choices under uncertainty?

Project title

Regret and restricted choice: An experimental study (HREC 1955026.1.2)


We aim to improve our understanding of human decision-making under uncertainty. Consider an investment opportunity with two possible outcomes: a good one with high returns and a bad one with low returns. We are interested in how the comparison between these two outcomes affects participants investment decisions.

This project has been approved by The University of Melbourne’s Human Research Ethics Committee, and is funded by the Toulouse School of Economics.

What will I be asked to do?

Should you agree to participate, you will be asked to first earn as much investment capital as possible. You can do so by moving as many sliders as you can into the centre of a horizontal line. For every correctly positioned slider, you will earn a fixed amount. Then, in a series of investment decisions, you will be asked to allocate a certain fraction of your investment capital between a safe and a risky investment option. Finally, a cognitive ability test, some personality traits questionnaires, and a short demographic survey will be conducted. The estimated time of commitment will be about 75 minutes. Participation in this study is completely voluntary and the information collected will remain confidential. You will receive between $10 to $40 for your participation. Part of the payment will depend on your performance in the first part (slider task) and the outcomes of your investment decisions in the second part.

How will my confidentiality be protected?

This is an anonymous study. We will protect the confidentiality of your responses to the fullest possible extent, within the limits of the law. Only participant codes will be used in the storage of data. The data will be kept securely in the Department of Finance for a minimum of five years from the date of publication. Your experimental data may be used in related future research conducted by members of the Department of Finance.

How will I receive feedback?

Results of the study will be available from the researchers’ websites, be presented at conferences and be published in peer-reviewed journals.

Will participation prejudice me in any way?

Please be advised that your participation in this study is completely voluntary. Should you wish to withdraw at any stage, or withdraw any unprocessed data you have supplied, you are free to do so without prejudice. If you are a student at the University of Melbourne, your grades will not be affected if you participate, decline to participate or withdraw from this project at any stage.

Where can I get further information?

If you would like to receive more information about the project, please contact the researchers at bmm-lab@unimelb.edu.au or 03 9035 9950.

This research project follows the guidelines of the National Health and Medical Research Council Statement on Human Experimentation. It has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of The University of Melbourne. If you have any concerns or complaints about the conduct of this research project, which you do not wish to discuss with the research team, you should contact the Manager, Human Research Ethics, Research Ethics and Integrity, University of Melbourne, VIC 3010 (phone: +61 3 8344 2073, email: humanethics-complaints@unimelb.edu.au). All complaints will be treated confidentially. In any correspondence please provide the name of the research team or the name or ethics ID number of the research project.

How do I agree to participate?

If you decide to participate, please sign up for an experimental session here.

Human ethics approval

This study has been approved by the University of Melbourne Human Research Ethics Committee (project ID: HREC 1749594.2).

Brain, Mind and Markets Lab
Department of Finance 
The University of Melbourne 
Victoria 3010 
Phone: +61 3 9035 9950