"What aspects of risk perception most strongly impact behavior?"

In studies of risk behavior, we often assume that risk perceptions help drive the decisions people make. For example, risk perceptions are thought to be important in decisions about condom use (i.e., perceptions of the risk of contracting HIV or an STD), putting on a seat belt (i.e., perceptions of the risk of a car accident), or buying health insurance (i.e., perceptions of the risk of contracting an illness). However, the degree to which risk perceptions actually do factor into decision making - as well as the extent to which people are actually accurate in their risk perceptions - is largely unknown. The purpose of this project is to examine the accuracy of risk perceptions in an experimental setting and to quantify the relationship between risk perception and risk-taking behavior in an experimental task.