We report statistical results from a laboratory experiment in which participants were required to make decisions with monetary consequences in several solitary and interactive situations under acute stress. Our study follows the tradition of behavioral and experimental economics in selecting the experimental situations and incorporates elements from medical and psychological research in the way stress is induced and measured. It relies on a larger sample, with 192 volunteers, than previous studies to achieve higher statistical power. The main conclusion, drawn from binary comparisons between the treatment and reference groups, is that acute stress does not have a significant impact on cognitive skills, strategic sophistication, risk attitudes, altruism, cooperativeness, or nastiness. Regression analysis, controlling for psycho-social characteristics, corroborates these findings, while also suggesting that acute stress significantly decreases men’s risk aversion (as measured by a lottery-choice risk-elicitation task).
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