The Household Planning Game: Assessing Everyday Risk Taking with a Novel Gambling Task Using Eye-tracking to Measure the Effect of Visual Attention During Trials

Louise Koch, Thomas Z. Ramsøy, Marcus Nyström

Research output: Contribution to journalConference abstract in journalResearchpeer-review


Two common reasons why people end up in personal financial problems are either because they have not learned to manage a budget, or because they have unrealistic expectations of what they can afford to buy. To assess potential level for risk-seeking behavior in daily life, we created a novel test - The Household Planning Game (HPG) - modelled upon the well-known Iowa Gambling Task (IGT). The basic foundations of the HPG were largely the same as the IGT, however illustrations of consumer goods were positioned at the top of the cards, and the participant's task was to select a card as if it was a natural shopping or budget planning situation. The selection of a card was associated with a monetary reward, but the card selection was also associated with a risk of receiving a penalty, which could be greater than the reward. The aim was to win as much money as possible. Rewards and penalties were modelled on the same schedule as in the IGT. Eighteen university students performed the HPG, which was separated into three conditions containing 100 trials. During the game, participants were asked to; 1) pay a number of fixed monthly costs or save money for various household costs; 2) purchase a number of consumer goods like groceries or presents; and 3) prioritize between paying bills at the beginning of a month or go out and spend money on shopping. Eye tracking was used to assess visual attention while participants performed the task. The results showed that the two non-risky decks were selected 30% and 37% of the times, respectively -- a result very similar to healthy participants in the IGT (Bechara et. al., 1994). Interestingly, when looking at the eye-movement data, participants spent more time looking at risky cards, even if a good card is selected. We conclude that 1) the HPG can function as an ecologically valid alternative to the IGT; 2) participants in the current study were not highly potential risk-takers; and finally 3) that eye tracking during an IGT/ HPG can provide useful information about potential risk-seeking cues
Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuroPsychoEconomics Conference Proceedings
Pages (from-to)46
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventThe 2014 NeuroPsychoEconomics Conference - Ludwig Maximilian University, München, Germany
Duration: 29 May 201430 May 2014
Conference number: 10


ConferenceThe 2014 NeuroPsychoEconomics Conference
LocationLudwig Maximilian University
Internet address

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