Risky choice as a function of amount and variance in food supply.

T. Hastjarjo, A. Silberberg, S. R. Hursh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


In Experiment 1, 4 rats earned their daily food ration by choosing on a trials basis between a "risky" and a "riskless" lever. The risky lever produced either 15 45-mg food pellets or no pellets, and on average provided five pellets per choice. The riskless lever always produced three pellets. Across conditions, the number of trials per session was varied. Body weight and choice of the risky lever decreased as the number of trials per session decreased, even though body weight could only be defended by increased choice of the risky lever. In Experiment 2, trials per session were fixed, but the number of pellets delivered by the risky and riskless levers was either at the same level as in Experiment 1 or tripled from those levels. Now choice of the risky lever was inversely related to the size of reinforcement and to body weight. The results of these experiments show that risk aversion covaries with the amount of food available in a session and the daily variance in the amount of food earned.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-161
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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