Young adults are consistent in their choices, balancing potential partners’ level of attractiveness against the potential sexually transmitted infection risk.
257 participants were presented with hypothetical “sexual gambles”, a photo of the potential partner’s face was shown alongside an associated, though hypothetical, risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection.
Nearly all participants made consistently rational choices, as defined by established models of psychological behavior.
People used heuristic decision strategies, cognitive shortcuts that ignore some information to make choices in life.
Individuals identified as classic heuristic decision-makers for monetary-based choices became rational decision-makers when similar choices were framed as sexual choices.