Journal of Risk and Uncertainty

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 55–71 | Cite as

Gender differences in reward sensitivity and information processing during decision-making

  • Kaileigh A. Byrne
  • Darrell A. Worthy


Gender differences in reward sensitivity and information processing were examined in two studies using a dynamic decision-making task. In Experiment 1, the optimal strategy involved forgoing an option that provided larger immediate rewards in favor of one yielding larger delayed rewards. In Experiment 2, the optimal strategy was to select the option that provided larger immediate rewards because the delayed reward option never gave larger rewards than the immediate reward option. Foregone reward information was either presented or withheld. In Experiment 1, information regarding foregone rewards biased participants toward the sub-optimal choice, whereas in Experiment 2, foregone rewards directed participants toward the optimal option. Males selected the optimal choice more in the delayed rewards task, while females were more biased toward the poorer choice by foregone reward information. In contrast, females outperformed males in the immediate rewards task. The results suggest a gender difference in information processing styles during decision-making.


Decision-making Information processing Risk Reward Gender 

JEL Classifications

D830 D800 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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