New experiments show that the experience of thinking fast makes people more likely to take risks. This discovery suggests that some of the innovations of the modern world—fast-paced movies, social media sites with a constant flow of fresh updates—are pushing people toward riskier behavior. An article describing two experiments showing this effect will appear in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
Thoughts can flow quickly or slowly. If you start your day with a cup of coffee, and an inbox full of e-mails with only a few minutes to check them, you may find your thoughts racing. But, if you skip your morning coffee and start the day staring at a blank wall, you probably won’t be thinking that fast. “Many aspects of your everyday environment impact the speed of your thinking,” says Emily Pronin, a psychology professor at Princeton University, who cowrote the article with Jesse J. Chandler.