Taking Risks and Gambling
What makes someone capable of taking risks? What drives someone to make these decisions? While these decisions they make have a high rewards, there are possible consequences, that people seem to not even consider. “Cognitive impulsivity is considered the inability to weigh the consequences of immediate and future events, with higher levels of cognitive impulsivity being associated with an inability to delay gratification (Arce & Santisteban, 2006)” (Harris). People in casinos do not consider the effects of their actions, they make decisions in the moment. Risks are made in casinos with gambling, but also in a number of other places. On game shows that air on television, contestants try to win the most amount of money they can, with a chance to lose all possible prizes. These television show contestants display risk in a way that is not harmful, but decreases their chance of getting a certain prize rather than losing it. “With the new approach to risk management, the emphasis is on the need to protect business assets and enhance shareholder value. The opportunities inherent in risk/return considerations become an integral facet of how an organization views risk” (Anderson). In businesses, CEOs manage risk in a controlled way for them to get the highest reward out of it. Risk is a tool many people use to get a desired result by giving something up. People become risk takers because they get the opportunity to get a reward by sacrificing something of lesser value, which comes with the possibility of consequences.
A casino is a major place for people to become risk takers. One game that comes to mind when considering risk and chance is Blackjack. In this game, cards are placed down one by one. Your cards’ number value must get to be the closest to 21 without getting over it. This game is about chance because people must decide whether or not they should keep adding cards. If you do not have the highest amount compared to other players or the house, then you will lose. You do not see the other people’s cards however. You must test to see how high you can get your cards to be without going over. This risk is being made because of a the reward of winning the game. You can lose instantly if your card is too high, yet some players remain to keep asking for more cards, knowing that they might lose. McNeilly says, “This enhanced concern is occurring at a time when older adults’ lifetime gambling rates have increased substantially, from 35% in 1975 to 80% in 1998” (McNeilly). The older people get, the more gambling can seriously affect them. Many of them have a delayed response to understanding the loss of money they can get in the future (McNeilly).
Game shows are another place where risks can be made. From television shows that I have looked at, a show that perfectly describes risk is the show Deal or No Deal. In this show, there is a group of suitcases displayed on stage. Each of these suitcases contain a value of money ranging from one cent and up to one million dollars, yet the contestants cannot see which suitcase contains which money amount. One contestant must go up to the stage and choose a suitcase one by one, hoping for the lowest amount. Whichever suitcases are left on stage are the possible amounts of money that the contestant can win. Throughout the game, there is a banker who offers them money to stop playing the game after each suitcase opened. He is hoping that the contestants will take his offer rather than keep partaking in the game. If there are higher values left, then he will offer more money, not reaching the highest amount. This show revolves around the idea of taking risks and impulsive decision making. The people on the show must decide if they are to take the banker’s guaranteed money, or if they take the chance to possibly get more or less money. Early in the game, while the banker offers guaranteed money to the contestants, most of them pass up, thinking that there is much more opportunity and more reward in continuing to play the game. One factor that plays an important part in this risk is the opinions of friends and family of the contestant. Near the end of the game, they look in the future for the contestant. They think about the positive or negative outcomes of both choices; taking the banker’s offer or continuing to take out suitcases. While making impulsive decisions, the risks and outcomes are not even fully considered(Harris). From what i’ve observed, Deal or No Deal is a show where chance is how the show goes on.
There are different types of risk. In gambling and game shows, this risk revolves around a tangible reward of either money or prizes. The risk for these are a loss of money. In the case of extreme sports, the reward becomes an emotion that comes out of it, and the risk is a life threatening one (Palmer). The risk of participating in extreme sports is how they are dangerous. Palmer says the “defining characteristic of these sports is that they provide their practitioners with a substantial chance of injury or even death” (Palmer). The people who do these sports are risking their lives and healthiness by doing these sports. Why would someone partake in something like this? They would because of the reward that comes out of it. This reward is the feeling of “thrills, rush, excitement” (Palmer) that seem to come out of these sports. “This mediated normalisation of risk-taking is particularly problematic, in that it gives the impression that nothing goes wrong in extreme sports. In the popular packaging of these ‘panic sports’ (Kroker, Kroker and Cook 1989), these activities are presented as being entirely without risk or danger” (Palmer). Media portrays that extreme sports to be danger free, and providing safety to the participant. Extreme sports are displayed, today, in social media as an exciting event. Almost anyone is able to partake in these sports (Palmer), and there is no boundary that prevents one from pursuing it. From the perspectives of people who are promoters of these sports, there is a difference between some.
Some videos of these promoters try to get the viewers to become excited and adrenaline-rushed. Palmer says that one rock climbing video “employs technical styles and modes of production more common to a rock music video” (Palmer). Palmer says how these videos do not show any sign of danger with the sports itself. They glorify the reward of the sport, which gets people to take part in it. While there is a risk to the sport, many people don’t seem to talk about these to media. Instead of showing the cons of sports, these sports are “selling of risk as it is played out in the adventure tourism market” (Palmer). This sort of sport is shown to tourists to invite them on a new experience. Adventure can be seen as danger free, and just as an experience that these people haven’t been through yet. However, these sports are more than just adventure. There are many dangers that people do not seem to consider in this sport. Andrew Bain who lives in New Zealand says “adventure is a poker game of spiralling stakes. Create an adventure and there is an immediate scramble to up the ante (cited in The Age, 2000:11)” (Palmer). Many of the sports that are considered extreme have dangers that can happen at any second. For example sports like mountain biking and skiing can build up adrenaline and be considered extreme sports. However, at any second, fear can be created if you slip or fall. Immediate dangers are presented there, yet prior to actually going through with the sport, many people do not care about it. People take these risks because of how media describes the rewards to them without mentioning the chances of injury or death.
In businesses, CEOs must take risks to create growth in their company. Shamarri says, “Sanders (2001) examined the influence of executive incentives on corporate decisions and strategies that entail risk-taking by testing the effects of executive’s stock option pay on firm’s acquisition and divestiture strategy.” Risk taking is a characteristic that CEOs must have at some point in their career. In the 1990s, markets became more competitive and businesses become more popular. In this study, there are different types of CEOs. Some of them prefer to take more risks than stay cautious. Other ones prefer the opposite and do not take that many risks. CEOs run their companies in a way for them to grow and beat other companies. Risking is a way that they can get big results by giving up something they already have.
Risks can be taken under the influence of others. A person might know and understand the downsides of a decision, yet once other people put their opinion in, they begin to side with them a little more. This is widely known as peer pressure. In school, health classes and many teachers give out their view on drug and alcohol use. They made it embedded in my brain how drugs are poor for your health and how they will ruin lives. But, why do students still choose to take these drugs or to drink at such a young age, even though they hear about these dangers? Blote says, “Individuals with SAD have higher rates of smoking, drinking, and drug use than non-socially anxious individuals” (Blote). SAD is social anxiety disorder, which happens to many kids. If these students have lived a while without having close reliable friends, when they meet people who act nice to them, they might want to fit in. It states, “The fear of isolation and the fear of ridicule may play a role in this relation ” (Blote). Peer pressure can begin when someone wants to fit in by acting like the others in the group. If a whole group of people did one thing, mob mentality might occur and the person would decide to do it. What also has an effect on this risk is what people around say about drug use. In media, musicians and artists seem to talk about these in songs more and more. These types of artists are becoming more popular day by day. Once more people around you are talking more about drugs, by only talking about the reward, the risks are not even considered. Especially when these people around you seem trustworthy, you will believe them.
Making risks are all about making impulsive decisions. These are decisions that are made in the moment without taking the time to deliberate and fully understand what the outcomes can be. There are different things that happen psychologically when risks occur. McNeilly says, “Frontotemporal dementia is a type of dementia affecting the part of the brain that regulates comportment, insight, and reasoning” (McNeilly). This study was made with older people gambling. This dementia usually goes unnoticed, and this takes away the person’s “reasoning”(McNeilly). This is also why more and more older people begin gambling. Harris says, “Motor impulsivity is usually associated with disruption to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (Bechara et al., 2000)” (Harris). Motor impulsivity is the what creates risks. This is when someone does something with “no forethought” (Harris). Risk and reward is an important thing that the mind realizes. The reward is the desired result that the person wants, so the risk does not matter as much to them.
Risks are made for a wide range of reasons. Some of them are made in the moment with no prior thinking of the future, while others are influenced by other people. They are shown in casinos with gambling. This can become an addiction in which the person’s mind keeps risking more and more money. Risks are shown in game shows, where people are given the opportunity to take guaranteed money, yet some give it up because their risk does not work out. People who take part in extreme sports also take risks. Media makes them seem harmless and only highlights the exciting parts of it, making people take this risk without realizing it (Palmer). Risks can be taken also on the scale of an entire company. CEOs must understand how to control the risks they make in order to improve their business. Peer pressure adds a factor to risk. It adds other people’s opinion in it, which can affect your decisions. Mob mentality is what causes some people to start off with drugs, and they influence the user. In these people’s minds, reasoning seems to be inexistent. They make impulsive decisions without thinking about the outcome. Risks are made so people can receive their result by sacrificing something else, while having the chance of consequences.