BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Risk taking for potential losses but not gains increases with time of day

    Bedder, R.L. and Vaghi, Matilde M. and Dolan, R.J. and Rutledge, R.B. (2023) Risk taking for potential losses but not gains increases with time of day. Scientific Reports 13 (1), ISSN 2045-2322.

    53056.pdf - Published Version of Record
    Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

    Download (1MB) | Preview


    Humans exhibit distinct risk preferences when facing choices involving potential gains and losses. These preferences are believed to be subject to neuromodulatory influence, particularly from dopamine and serotonin. As neuromodulators manifest circadian rhythms, this suggests decision making under risk might be affected by time of day. Here, in a large subject sample collected using a smartphone application, we found that risky options with potential losses were increasingly chosen over the course of the day. We observed this result in both a within-subjects design (N = 2599) comparing risky options chosen earlier and later in the day in the same individuals, and in a between-subjects design (N = 26,720) showing our effect generalizes across ages and genders. Using computational modelling, we show this diurnal change in risk preference reflects a decrease in sensitivity to increasing losses, but no change was observed in the relative impacts of gains and losses on choice (i.e., loss aversion). Thus, our findings reveal a striking diurnal modulation in human decision making, a pattern with potential importance for real-life decisions that include voting, medical decisions, and financial investments.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Matilde Vaghi
    Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2024 13:39
    Last Modified: 13 Feb 2024 14:10


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item