Research findings differ as to whether choosing a risky option is an efficient strategy for decision makers seeking to avoid responsibility for potential failures. A risky choice may leave the final outcome to chance factors, but the decision maker can still be held responsible for choosing risk. Further, it is unclear whether a risky choice is a responsible choice. The present article investigates the putative relationship between risk‐taking and responsibility by drawing a distinction between being responsible for the outcome (R1) versus acting responsibly (R2). Four experiments were performed, in which participants were presented with scenarios describing decision makers facing a choice between a risky (uncertain) option and a riskless (certain) option, framed in terms of losses or equivalent gains. The results showed that decision makers who chose the risky alternative were judged to have acted in a less responsible manner (R2), while still being held equally responsible for the outcome (R1), unless they were ignorant of the risks involved. Choosing risk did not absolve decision makers from blame, despite being less causal and less in control than those who chose the riskless option. Risky decision makers were also judged to be more personally involved. The dissociation between R1 and R2 ratings confirms earlier findings and serves to clarify an alleged relationship between risky choices and responsibility aversion. Framing effects for own choices were found in both scenarios. In contrast, responsibility ratings were only slightly affected by frame.
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