Stefania Pighin

Decisions and stress: The influence of mild hypoxia on decision-making under uncertainty

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Mild hypoxia is a condition frequently encountered not only at high altitudes but also in work environments where oxygen concentrations are intentionally diminished for specific purposes, such as reducing the risk of fire or oxidative degradation of materials. This condition is known for its accompanying physiological changes (e.g., increased heart rate and decreased arterial saturation) and its adverse impact on fundamental cognitive capacities such as attention and memory. The present contribution aims to present the few empirical findings available on the effects of mild hypoxia on decision-making under uncertainty. These results underscore how even a mild oxygen manipulation, imperceptible to participants, significantly modifies their choices and propensity for risk. The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to their practical relevance and within the context of the existing literature on the influence of stress on decision-making.


  • stress
  • mild hypoxia
  • decision-making
  • uncertainty
  • risk


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