The Balloon Analog Risk Task (BART) allows to experimentally assess individuals’ risk-taking profiles in an ecologically sound setting. Many psychological and neuroscientific studies implemented the BART for its simplicity and intuitive nature. However, some issues in the design of the BART are systematically unconsidered in experimental paradigms, which may bias the estimation of individual risk-taking profiles. Since there are no methodological guidelines for implementing the BART, many variables (e.g., the maximum explosion probabilities, the rationale underlying stochastic events) vary inconstantly across experiments, possibly producing contrasting results. Moreover, the standard version of the BART is affected by the interaction of an individual-dependent, unavoidable source of stochasticity with a trial-dependent, more ambiguous source of stochasticity (i.e., the probability of the balloon to explode). This paper shows the most appropriate experimental choices for having the lowest error in the approximation of risk-taking profiles. Performance tests of a series of simulated data suggest that a more controlled, eventually non-stochastic version of the BART, better approximates original risk-taking profiles. Selecting optimal BART parameters is particularly important in neuroscience experiments to optimize the number of trials in a time window appropriate for acquiring neuroimaging data. We also provide helpful suggestions to researchers in many fields to allow the implementation of optimized risk-taking experiments using the BART.

Appropriately Tuning Stochastic-Psychometric Properties of the Balloon Analog Risk Task

Di Plinio, Simone
Primo
;
Pettorruso, Mauro
Secondo
;
Ebisch, Sjoerd J. H.
Ultimo
2022

Abstract

The Balloon Analog Risk Task (BART) allows to experimentally assess individuals’ risk-taking profiles in an ecologically sound setting. Many psychological and neuroscientific studies implemented the BART for its simplicity and intuitive nature. However, some issues in the design of the BART are systematically unconsidered in experimental paradigms, which may bias the estimation of individual risk-taking profiles. Since there are no methodological guidelines for implementing the BART, many variables (e.g., the maximum explosion probabilities, the rationale underlying stochastic events) vary inconstantly across experiments, possibly producing contrasting results. Moreover, the standard version of the BART is affected by the interaction of an individual-dependent, unavoidable source of stochasticity with a trial-dependent, more ambiguous source of stochasticity (i.e., the probability of the balloon to explode). This paper shows the most appropriate experimental choices for having the lowest error in the approximation of risk-taking profiles. Performance tests of a series of simulated data suggest that a more controlled, eventually non-stochastic version of the BART, better approximates original risk-taking profiles. Selecting optimal BART parameters is particularly important in neuroscience experiments to optimize the number of trials in a time window appropriate for acquiring neuroimaging data. We also provide helpful suggestions to researchers in many fields to allow the implementation of optimized risk-taking experiments using the BART.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11564/777126
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