Sensitivity to reward and risky driving, risky decision making, and risky health behaviour: A literature review

  • Published: Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 49, 93-109, August 2017
  • Authors: Scott-Parker, B., Weston, L.
  • Date Added: 12 Jan 2018
  • Last Update: 12 Jan 2018
  • Format: html


The objective of the study was to develop an understanding of the relationship between reward sensitivity and risky driving, between reward sensitivity and risky decision making and between reward sensitivity and risky health behaviours and to identify avenues of effective interventions in young driver road safety.



Basic search terms were: ‘reward sensitivity’, ‘sensitivity to reward’, ‘risk’, ‘reward AND behaviour’ and their variations. Explored databases were: PsychINFO and Science Direct. Articles with a publication date up to 15 September 2014 were considered.

Key Findings:

  • Individuals with greater reward sensitivity generally were found to engage in risky driving behaviours, risky decision making, and other risky health-related behaviours in greater rates than individuals with lower reward sensitivity.

  • Males and adolescents were found to exhibit greater reward sensitivity.

  • When coupled with an attentional bias towards being rewarded in the presence of peers, it becomes particularly problematic for road safety.