The role of hope in financial risk seeking

Martin Reimann, Gergana Y. Nenkov, Deborah MacInnis, Maureen Morrin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


One construct validation study and four experiments showed that the relationship between hope and financial risk seeking depended on whether or not the possibility of a hoped-for outcome was threatened. Whereas high (vs. low) hope decreased financial risk seeking when the possibility of a hoped-for outcome was not threatened, high (vs. low) hope increased financial risk seeking when the outcome's possibility was threatened. These effects were observed in different contexts (i.e., gambling, stock investing, bidding, retirement investing), when applying different operationalizations of hope and threats to possibility, and when controlling for alternative explanations. We also showed that individuals' motivations to either achieve gains or avoid losses mediated the effects of hope on financial risk seeking. This research, which is the first to study the role of hope in financial decision making, adds to the extant literature by underscoring the psychological impact of threats to the possibility of attaining a hoped-for financial outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-364
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Applied
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014


  • Experiments
  • Financial risk seeking
  • Hope
  • Outcome threat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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