According to Fuzzy-Trace Theory (FTT), qualitative, bottom-line, “gist” reasoning leads to less risk taking and more mature decision-making, less easily swayed by emotions than quantitative, detail-oriented, “verbatim” reasoning. In Bipolar disorder deleterious risky behaviors are common. Prior research confirmed the relationships posited between FTT and risk taking. We aim to understand whether FTT acts upon risk taking in the manner proposed in the FTT framework, namely, that (a) gist “values” mediate the role of “categorical gist”. Furthermore, the roles of mania and impulsivity, cited as factors for risk-taking, remain to be clarified. In this study, we investigate if (b) manic symptoms and impulsivity moderate these relationships.
Participants (N = 105) completed an online survey including demographics, clinical variables, symptomatology, FTT, risk taking and risk perception.
Mediational models indicated that (a) Gist Values mediated Categorical Gist’s effect on risk taking, as expected by the FTT framework. (b) Impulsivity moderates risk taking, but manic-type symptomatology does not.
Voluntary, self-report surveys may have low participant motivation and limit the diagnostic validity and the inpatient generalizability of the results.
The results move beyond a focus on mood-related aspects of Bipolar disorder and confirm the importance of understanding reasoning processes like FTT in combination with impulsivity, as potential behavioral factors of risk taking in Bipolar disorder. The clarifications on FTT’s functioning as a mechanism prescribe possible openings for more efficacious reduction of risky behaviors through behavioral interventions focusing on value creation.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.