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Risk-attitude selection bias in subject pools for experiments involving neuroimaging and blood samples

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Author Info

  • Roe, Brian E.
  • Haab, Timothy C.
  • Beversdorf, David Q.
  • Gu, Howard H.
  • Tilley, Michael R.
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Abstract

Techniques such as neuroimaging and molecular genetics are increasingly used to investigate economic theory, decision making behavior and personality traits related to economic behavior (e.g., risk attitudes, reward dependence). The generalizability of this research is ultimately limited, however, if the subjects participating in such studies are not representative of the general population with respect to the behavior or traits of interest to the researcher. In this study, university student recruits answer surveys that assess risk attitudes prior to being told that the study involves a one-hour functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) session and a blood sample obtained via phlebotomy. We find recruits with more conservative risk attitudes in two of four measured dimensions are less likely to agree to participate in the study due to these biomedical requirements, suggesting that recruitment among student volunteer populations for fMRI studies and for genetics studies requiring blood as genetic source material may induce a sample selection bias in the domain of risk attitudes. We find that limiting recruitment to individuals who have previously undergone certain types of medical interventions (MRI, computed tomography or surgery) eliminates the sample selection bias in the case of fMRI research and attenuates the bias in the case of genetics research. Furthermore, relying upon buccal cells rather than blood for genetic source material may attenuate sample selection bias. Buccal cell samples can be collected via less invasive oral techniques and have been shown to provide genotyping results that are comparable to blood samples.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

Volume (Year): 30 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 181-189

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Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:30:y:2009:i:2:p:181-189

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep

Related research

Keywords: Neuroimaging Genetics Selection bias Risk attitudes Experimental subjects;

References

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  1. Marco Casari & John C. Ham & John H. Kagel, 2007. "Selection Bias, Demographic Effects, and Ability Effects in Common Value Auction Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1278-1304, September.
  2. Ekelund, Jesper & Johansson, Edvard & Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta & Lichtermann, Dirk, 2005. "Self-employment and risk aversion--evidence from psychological test data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(5), pages 649-659, October.
  3. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Juergen Schupp & Gert Wagner, 2005. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," Working Papers 2096, The Field Experiments Website.
  4. Camelia Kuhnen & Brian Knutson, 2005. "The Neural Basis of Financial Risk Taking," Experimental 0509001, EconWPA.
  5. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
  6. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Blair L. Cleave & Nikos Nikiforakis & Robert Slonim, 2010. "Is There Selection Bias in Laboratory Experiments?," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1106, The University of Melbourne.
  2. Slonim, Robert & Wang, Carmen & Garbarino, Ellen & Merrett, Danielle, 2013. "Opting-in: Participation bias in economic experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 43-70.
  3. Blair Cleave & Nikos Nikiforakis & Robert Slonim, 2013. "Is there selection bias in laboratory experiments? The case of social and risk preferences," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 372-382, September.

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