According to previous literature, trait anxiety is related to the tendency to choose safety options during risk decision-making, that is, risk avoidance. In our opinion, anxious people’s risk preference might actually reflect their hypersensitivity to emotional information. To examine this hypothesis, a decision-making task that could elicit the framing effect was employed. The framing effect indicates that risk preference could be modulated by emotional messages contained in the description (i.e., frame) of options. The behavioral results have showed the classic framing effect. In addition, individual level of trait anxiety was positively correlated with the framing effect size. However, trait anxiety was not correlated with risk-avoidance ratio in any condition. Finally, the relationship between anxiety and the framing effect remained significant after the level of depression was also taken into account. The theoretical significance and the major limitations of this study are discussed.

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Published in Frontiers in Psychology, v. 8, article 92, p. 1-6.

Copyright © 2017 Gu, Wu, Broster, Jiang, Xu, Yang, Xu and Luo.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31571124, 31500920, 81503480, 81471376, 31671173), 973 Program (2014CB744600), and the Beijing National Science Foundation (7154227).