Risk-Attitude Selection Bias in Subject Pools for Experiments Involving Neuroimaging and Blood Samples

Posted: 4 Mar 2009

See all articles by Brian E. Roe

Brian E. Roe

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Agricultural, Environmental & Development Economics

Timothy C. Haab

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Agricultural, Environmental & Development Economics

David Q. Beversdorf

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Howard H. Gu

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Michael R. Tilley

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: March 4, 2009

Abstract

Techniques such as neuroimaging and molecular genetics are increasingly used to investigate economic theory, decision making behavior and personality traits related to economic behavior (e.g., risk attitudes, reward dependence). The generalizability of this research is ultimately limited, however, if the subjects participating in such studies are not representative of the general population with respect to the behavior or traits of interest to the researcher. In this study, university student recruits answer surveys that assess risk attitudes prior to being told that the study involves a one-hour functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) session and a blood sample obtained via phlebotomy. We find recruits with more conservative risk attitudes in two of four measured dimensions are less likely to agree to participate in the study due to these biomedical requirements, suggesting that recruitment among student volunteer populations for fMRI studies and for genetics studies requiring blood as genetic source material may induce a sample selection bias in the domain of risk attitudes. We find that limiting recruitment to individuals who have previously undergone certain types of medical interventions (MRI, computed tomography or surgery) eliminates the sample selection bias in the case of fMRI research and attenuates the bias in the case of genetics research. Furthermore, relying upon buccal cells rather than blood for genetic source material may attenuate sample selection bias. Buccal cell samples can be collected via less invasive oral techniques and have been shown to provide genotyping results that are comparable to blood samples.

Keywords: Neuroimaging, Genetics, Selection Bias, Risk Attitudes, Experimental Subjects

JEL Classification: C91, D81, D87

Suggested Citation

Roe, Brian E. and Haab, Timothy C. and Beversdorf, David Q. and Gu, Howard H. and Tilley, Michael R., Risk-Attitude Selection Bias in Subject Pools for Experiments Involving Neuroimaging and Blood Samples (March 4, 2009). Journal of Economic Psychology, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1353104

Brian E. Roe (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Agricultural, Environmental & Development Economics ( email )

2120 Fyffe Rd
Columbus, OH 43210-1067
United States
614-688-5777 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://aede.osu.edu/our-people/brian-e-roe

Timothy C. Haab

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Agricultural, Environmental & Development Economics ( email )

2120 Fyffe Rd
Columbus, OH 43210-1067
United States

David Q. Beversdorf

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Howard H. Gu

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Michael R. Tilley

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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