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Why Does Drinking Alcohol Affect Risk-Seeking Behavior? A Test of the Need for Cognitive Closure Hypothesis

Dimoff, John D (2015) Why Does Drinking Alcohol Affect Risk-Seeking Behavior? A Test of the Need for Cognitive Closure Hypothesis. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Research suggests that the drinking environment can affect dynamic processes involved in group decision making. The current study evaluated the need for cognitive closure (NFCC) as a mechanism underlying previously observed effects of alcohol dosage-set (i.e., beliefs persons have about the content of their beverages) on risk-seeking behavior. Five-hundred-four social drinkers (261 female) were assembled into 168 three-person groups and randomly assigned to one of three beverage conditions: alcohol, placebo, and no-alcohol control. Following beverage consumption, groups were asked to choose between two options of equal expected value, one of which offered a greater yet less certain (i.e., “riskier”) outcome. Groups were given 150-sec to make a decision and were required to reach consensus. Group discussion was video-recorded, and behavioral measures of NFCC were systematically coded by three independent raters. Results did not support NFCC as a mechanism explaining the earlier finding; however, results suggested that the decision making task used here may not have offered a sensitive test of NFCC. Though methodological limitations were detected, supplemental analyses indicate that dosage-set affected group decision making prior to observable deliberation, and that groups valued affiliation more than they valued specific decision making outcomes regardless of which beverage was consumed or which decision was initially endorsed. These findings raise new questions regarding the effects of implicit cognitions and normative influence on decisions made in drinking contexts.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Dimoff, John Djdd16@pitt.eduJDD16
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSayette, Michael Asayette@pitt.eduSAYETTE
Committee MemberLevine, John M.jml@pitt.eduJML
Committee MemberOrehek, Edward A.orehek@pitt.eduOREHEK
Date: 9 January 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 29 May 2014
Approval Date: 9 January 2015
Submission Date: 24 November 2014
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 48
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Alcohol, Decision Making, Need for Cognitive Closure, Group Processes
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2015 16:43
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:25


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