PhD Defense Xiaoyue Tan – October 16th, 13:45

The Psychology of Loss Management
Most people have to face occasions of losses in their lives. Yet most people are unprepared for major losses, which often happen unexpectedly. It is important to know more about how people respond to losses and how to manage losses in an uncertain world. We addressed these questions mainly by experiments, but also through qualitative and correlational approaches. Based on our main findings, the present dissertation offers three complementary insights. First, both situational and trait behavioral approach motivation influence people’s risk seeking under losses. Second, enacting rituals has a compensatory function after losses, for example by enhancing perceptions of future benefits from losses, by enhancing perceptions of control over the past events, and by increasing people’s satisfaction with life. Third, positive fortune telling enhances men’s financial risk taking, regardless of whether they believe in fortune telling or not. Taken together, these findings illustrate how palliative behaviors, such as costly risk taking and superstition, are associated with people’s loss management.