Attitudes toward ambiguous situations resemble the domain-specificity of attitudes toward risk

Yiyun Shou*, Heshani Samantha De Silva, Joel Olney

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Individual differences in attitudes toward uncertainty have long been studied as a general propensity in how people respond to uncertain situations. However, there has been increasing evidence that people may react to certain kinds of uncertainty, such as risk, heterogeneously across different life domains. The present research examined people's attitudes toward uncertainty, especially ambiguity that is present in different everyday life situations. Two studies (N = 594) were carried out to examine people's responses to ambiguity across life domains and general trait attitudes toward uncertainty. Using network analysis, we found that affective attitudes toward ambiguous situations demonstrated a domain-specific pattern that corresponded to the domain-specific pattern of risk attitudes. Affective responses toward ambiguous situations also strongly correlated with risk taking tendency in each domain. Furthermore, the associations between general trait attitudes toward uncertainty and affective responses to ambiguous situations varied across domains, and such variation could not be explained by differences in perceived uncertainty across domains. Overall, the results suggest that attitudes toward ambiguity in everyday life situations are domain-specific and such domain-specificity is mainly driven by domain-specific attitudes toward risk.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number111667
    JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


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