Affiliated Organization

Proceedings of JAIS Theory Development Workshop


Studies of human decision making have demonstrated that stress exacerbates risk taking. Since all decisions involve some element of risk, stress has critical impact on decision quality. Decisions are found to improve with stress up to an optimal threshold beyond which deterioration is observed. However, few studies have examined the psychological experiences underlying risk-taking behavior in conjunction with stress creators. In this paper we propose a research framework that integrates pre-conditions of stress (perceptions of high gain/loss, risk, complexity, and organizational pressure) with observed psychological experiences (time pressure, uncertainty, information overload, and dynamism) that potentially result in risky decision making. This framework suggests that decision support systems have the potential of mitigating or enhancing the psychological perceptions of stress and, hence, impacting decision quality. Empirical testing of a component of this framework provided interesting preliminary results. Subjects experiencing high stress indicated the same levels of perceived uncertainty and dynamism as subjects exposed to low stress, suggesting that use of a decision support system mitigated the perceptions of dynamism and uncertainty for the high stress group. Contrary to hypotheses, the use of a decision support system did not mitigate perceptions of information overload.