If you have $50, would you rather lose $30 or keep $20. After a little bit of thought, you probably realize that these are the same thing. Experimental economists, however, have generally found that individuals will go to great lengths to avoid the $30 loss. This phenomenon is named loss aversion. In prospect theory, loss aversion refers to people’s tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains.
The Wilson Quarterly reviews research by Benedetto De Martino and colleagues using an experimental framework to see if individual with autism spectrum disorder (i.e., ASD or autism) were less influenced by how gambles were framed.
“More than the contrl group, [individuals with autism] seemed to recognize the ‘lose’ and ‘keep’ options as the same. Defiiciencies in emotional processing apparently have an upside, safeguarding people with ASD from at least some forms of emotion-driven irrationality.”
- “The ASD Difference” The Wilson Quarterly, Winter 2009, p. 16.
- De Martino B, Harrison NA, Knafo S, Bird G, Dolan RJ. 2008. “Explaining Enhanced Logical Consistency during Decision Making in Autism,” The Journal of Neuroscience, October 15, 2008, 28(42):10746-10750