Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Lahna Catalino

Reader 2

Alison Harris

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Rights Information

© 2018 Sana Sra


Over the past decades, decision making under risk has garnered a great amount of attention both in the field of economics and psychology. Although state-dependent variabilities of risk taking are well-documented, little is known about the effects of a person’s preferred time of day, or chronotype, in risky decision making. Under circumstances of circadian mismatch (e.g., when an “early bird” makes decisions in the evening), research suggests that decision making may reflect a greater reliance on heuristics, such as using stereotypes in social judgments. However, the effects of circadian mismatch on heuristics in risky decision making are relatively unexplored. This paper looks into the effects of circadian mismatch on the reflection effect: a behavioral bias in financial decision making, wherein individuals are risk averse when facing potential gains, and risk seeking when facing potential losses. Participants will be randomly assigned to their circadian matched or circadian mismatched conditions and will play a series of financial gambling tasks with real monetary incentives. This study predicts that the reflection effect will be exacerbated in circadian mismatched individuals as compared to matched participants. Exploring such an effect could have real-world implications on decision making under risk by providing critical knowledge about the effects of time of day on our susceptibility to behavioral biases. It could therefore point to the existence of a more optimal time of day to engage in such critical decision making.