Elevation Increases Risk Appetite in Facility Occupants

  May 17, 2018

By Naomi Millán

The higher up in a building a person is, the likelier it is they will make risky choices, according to research published in Society for Consumer Psychology. This research could be of significance to facility managers as they manage the safety protocols of employees working on the roof, or when they interact with tenants on higher floors.

Researchers analyzed volatility data from over 3,000 hedge funds and found a slight correlation between the fund's volatility and what floor the office was on. In addition, researchers conducted several experiments in a high rise with a glass elevator with views to the outside, and found study participants were more likely to make riskier bets as the elevator moved up to the 72 floor, versus as the elevator went down, according to Phys.org.

In another experiment to try to figure out what was causing this dynamic, study participants were asked to finish a series of unfinished words. The participants on the 3rd floor were able to complete more words related to the concept of power than participants on the ground floor, leading the researchers to hypothesize that elevation increases thoughts of power.

One finding of the research was that the elevation/risk correlation only occurred when there was a view to the outside. In addition, the effect disappeared when study participants were told that a sense of physical elevation could impact their behavior.

This Quick Read was submitted by Naomi Millán, senior editor, Building Operating Management.


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