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Ideal Time of Day for Risky Decision Making: Evidence from the Balloon Analogue Risk Task

Authors Li M, Mai Z, Yang J, Zhang B, Ma N

Received 5 May 2020

Accepted for publication 6 July 2020

Published 16 July 2020 Volume 2020:12 Pages 477—486

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NSS.S260321

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Sutapa Mukherjee


Mingzhu Li,1– 5 Zifeng Mai,1– 5 Jiayu Yang,1– 5 Bin Zhang,6 Ning Ma1– 5

1Key Laboratory of Brain, Cognition and Education Sciences (South China Normal University), Ministry of Education, Guangzhou 510631, People’s Republic of China; 2School of Psychology, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, People’s Republic of China; 3Center for Sleep Research, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, People’s Republic of China; 4Center for Studies of Psychological Application, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, People’s Republic of China; 5Guangdong Key Laboratory of Mental Health and Cognitive Science, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, People’s Republic of China; 6Department of Psychiatry, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Center for Brain Science and Brain-Inspired Intelligence, Guangzhou 510515, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence: Ning Ma
Center for Sleep Research,Center for Studies of Psychological Application,Guangdong Key Laboratory of Mental Health & Cognitive Science, School of Psychology, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, People’s Republic of China
Email maning@m.scnu.edu.cn

Background: Previous studies have demonstrated that individuals showed higher risk preference in the afternoon than in the morning. However, few studies aimed to explore the alteration of feedback learning effect during risky decision making, which is one of the important psychological processes of real risk behaviors. Moreover, cognitive function altered at the off-peak time due to impaired inhibitory control. The present study is to investigate the time-of-day effect on risky decision making and inhibitory control and whether the alteration of inhibitory control causes the differences in risky decision making across one day.
Participants and Methods: We adopted a within-participants design without extremely chronotype individuals to measure the time-of-day (9 am vs 3 pm) effect on risky decision making by using the Balloon Analogue Risk Task. At the same time, we measured the inhibitory control by using the Go/no-go task.
Results: Our results confirmed that individuals showed higher risk preference in the afternoon than in the morning. In addition, we found that individuals were insensitive to loss and the previous negative feedback in the afternoon. Critically, the results did not reveal any significant correlation between risky decision making and inhibitory control under the regulation of the time-of-day effects, although individuals performed worse on inhibitory control in the afternoon.
Conclusion: The current findings revealed that the time-of-day effect regulated risky decision making and inhibitory control. Individuals act with higher risk preference, less sensitivity to loss as negative feedback, and lower inhibitory control in the afternoon than in the morning. This may reflect the effects of time-of-day on risk propensity and inhibitory control is relatively independent.

Keywords: time-of-day effect, risky decision making, inhibitory control

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