Risky Decision Making in the Cash Cab

Ideally, the theories and phenomena you read about in your textbook should be able to predict behavior in the real world.  For this assignment you will be observing decision making behavior in a “real life” situation. In doing so, you will try to determine whether that behavior is predicted by decision making theories concerning the framing effect and people’s perception of losses and gains during decision making.

The discovery channel has an entertaining game show on its schedule called the “Cash Cab.”  In this show, people hail a cab in New York city only to find out that they have just become contestants in a game show. During their trip in the cab to their intended destination, they are asked a series of general knowledge questions. They win money for every question they answer correctly and obtain a “strike” for every incorrect answer.  If they get three strikes they are kicked out of the cash cab and have to find another way to get to their destination.  If they make it to their destination having earned cash, they are given the option to bet it all – double or nothing – on a “Video Bonus Questions.”  It is the contestants’ performance on this Video Bonus Question you will be observing to see if you can determine whether their behavior (the decision to risk it all or not) is predicted by the information you have been learning about decision making.

Review the following:

Making the observations

You have to watch at least four full episodes (they are only 30 minutes) of the Cash Cab for this assignment (feel free to watch more if you wish)
On a separate sheet of paper record the following information:

For each episode that you watch (this information will be turned in with your paper):

For each contestant that reaches the Video Challenge stage of the program record:

Writing the Paper

Use the observations you have made to discuss risky decision making in real life situations. In doing so, you need to address the following points:

Include on a separate page, the data you collected about the Cash Cab (this information should NOT be integrated into the text).

Follow the guidelines for the applied writing assignments but also feel free to have some fun with this assignment.