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Title page                                                                                                                    i

Certification                                                                                                                ii

Dedication                                                                                                                  iii

Acknowledgments                                                                                                      iv

Table of Contents                                                                                                       v

List of Tables                                                                                                              vi

Abstract                                                                                                                      vii

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION                                                                    1

Statement of the Problem                                                                                           14

Purpose of the Study                                                                                                  15

Operational Definition of Terms                                                                                 16

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW                                                      18

Theoretical Review                                                                                                     18

Prospect Theory                                                                                                          18

Social Cognitive Theory                                                                                             20

Dynamic Decision-making Theory (DDM)                                                                22

Instance-Based Learning Theory (IBLT)                                                                   24

Empirical Review                                                                                                        26

Effects of framing on decision making                                                                      26

Certainty Effects on Decision Making                                                                       30

Gender differences on decision making                                                                     33

Moderating role of risk perception on framing, certainty and gender effects

on decision making                                                                                                     35

Summary of Literature Review                                                                                  39

Hypotheses                                                                                                                 40

CHAPTER THREE: METHOD                                                                             41

Participants                                                                                                                 41

Instruments                                                                                                                 41

Procedure                                                                                                                    44

Design/Statistics                                                                                                         47

CHAPTER FOUR: RESULTS                                                                               48

Summary of Findings                                                                                                 51

CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION                                                                          52

Implications of the Study                                                                                           58

Limitations of the Study                                                                                             61

Suggestions for Further Studies                                                                                 61

Summary and Conclusion                                                                                           61

REFERENCES                                                                                                        63

APPENDICES                                                                                                          71



Table 1:          Descriptive statistics table showing mean and standard deviation of security strategy decision scores based on framing, certainty and gender.                                                                                         48

Table 2:          ANOVA results for effects of framing, certainty and gender on security strategy decision.                                                                   49

Table 3:          Moderation table of risk perception for framing, certainty and

gender on security strategy decision                                                   50



This study used a 2x2x2 factorial design to examine framing, certainty and gender effects on security strategy decision. One hundred and twenty (60 male, 60 female) first year students of psychology, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, whose ages ranged from 16-29 years (M = 20.35 years, SD =2.85 years) participated in the study. Framing was varied into positive and negative framing conditions certainty was varied into certainty and uncertainty conditions, while gender was categorized into male and female. The domain specific risk taking scale for the adult population, tackling insecurity in Nigeria, and the security strategy decision inventory were the study materials used to measure risk perception, manipulate framing and certainty, and assess security strategy decision respectively. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) result revealed significant main effects of framing and certainty on security strategy decision, F(1, 112) = 97.80, p < .001 and F(1, 112) = 169.95, p < .001 respectively. Gender, however, had no significant effect on security strategy decision. Moderated regression analysis showed that risk perception significantly moderated the relationship between certainty and security strategy decision (β =.36, t = 3.78, p < .001). The interaction effect between framing and gender was significant, F (1, 112) = 7.58, p < .01. The implications and limitations of these findings were discussed and suggestions were made for future studies.




Every day, people are inundated with numerous decision scenarios, big, small and even those that could not be easily classified (Dietrich, 2010). Decision making reflects the process of arriving at a conclusion after much consideration has been made about which action to take and the ones to avoid, as well as the possible outcome of such actions (Ibeanu & Momoh, 1998). It is the process by which an individual selects from available options or alternatives after due or partial considerations (Coleman, 2003). According to Stanovich and West (2008), decision making is the act of choosing between or from two or more causes of action. People choose action or form opinions via mental processes which are influenced by their psychological, environmental and/or economical states at the time, and the perceived available cognitive and mental resources. Thus, individuals and/or groups always strive to make choices that could result in their physical or psychological well-being either on the immediate or long- term (Acevedo & Krueger, 2004).

The psychological and mental state of a decision maker is predominantly a function of the relative calm, peace, ease, security and/or insecurity available, and his or her perception of such safety and security. Security relates to the available peace, calm, and lack or absence of threats to the life of the citizens of a state (Adebakin, 2012; Bilings & Lisa, 1988; Daniels, 1999). Security implies the avoidance of harm or discomfort, provision of physical and psychological safety, freedom from fear and protection from physical, emotional and psychological injuries, and it has been shown to be the second most important need of humans after food, air and shelter (Maslow, 1970), and ranks as a major concern of individuals either in their domestic, workplace or religious domains.

The psychobiology of security (just as in other emotional reactions) shows that environmental stimuli are interpreted by the amygdale (the emotional brain) as friendly or threat to an individual’s psychological resources, and an interpretation of a stimulus as threat results in feeling of insecurity that manifests in muscle tension, increased heartbeat, dryness of the throat and mouth, sweating, irritability, trembling, frequent urination, hyper-sensitivity and alertness to loud or strange sounds, and restlessness. These reactions are nearly universal because they are caused by the activation of the autonomous nervous system which is the neural circuit that links the internal organs (heart, liver, kidney etc) with the brain (amygdale) (Nwanegbo & Odigbo, 2015).

Researchers (Ogbonnaya & Ehigiamusoe, 2012; Jou, Shanteau, & Harris, 1996) maintained that security or relative absence of threats to human life and properties has a significant impact on people’s ability to concentrate on a given task while insecurity results in role confusion, poor concentration, increased negative emotional reaction and work accidents. The authors documented the psychological implications of insecurity to include fear, anxiety, apprehension, poor concentration, poor judgment/reasoning, restlessness, among others. Conversely, increased work output, precision in judgment, adequate concentration, calm and psychological and physical well-being have been documented as a function of security or perceived safety of lives and property.

In a bid to provide adequate security to its citizens and staff members, different states/governments, organizations and firms adopt several long-term security strategies such as the alleviation of poverty, creation of jobs/employment, proper orientation and reduction of illiteracy which have been identified as risk factors of insecurity (Adetoro, 2012). Also, immediate short-term security strategies aimed at either maintaining an existing security situation or at curbing those activities that lead to insecurity and loss of life, such as insurgency, kidnapping, armed robbery, militancy as the case seems to appear in Nigeria are also adopted.

In most cases, weapon scanners, detectors and other security gadgets have been procured and used as short term security strategies at airports, seaports, land borders, government and private institutions, offices, banks, hotels, parks and checkpoints by both trained and untrained personnel. Individuals have gone ahead to provide their own personal security at home and offices, and this have led to the increase in private security firms, and most unfortunately, to the proliferation of illegal arms and weapons in the Nigerian society (Olaniyan, 2015; Amnesty International, AI, 2014; United Nations Security Council, UNSC, 2012). However, all these efforts by different persons and organizations at providing adequate security for themselves, their groups or citizens, underscore the importance of security for humans to function at their optimal capacity, as well as safeguarding lives and properties.

The decisions to adopt any of the afore-mentioned security strategies (often referred to as security strategy decision) is crucial owing to the scarcity of resources needed to meet human needs (World Health Organization (WHO), 2001), and people must make adequate plans to ensure proper utilization of resources in order to avoid waste. Adebakin, (2012), defined security strategy decision as the choice or choosing between the alternatives/options of using scanners, detectors or devices to search for illegal arms and ammunitions in the hands of unauthorized individuals and persons, by the state/security agencies, or to embark on massive provision of jobs for the youths to distract them from engaging in activities that undermine state security. It also refers to the different tactics adopted by the state security agencies such as the Army, Navy, Police and the Department for Security Services (DSS) to maintain adequate peace and secure lives and properties of the citizens of Nigeria. The current study is anchored on the definition of security strategy decision as the choice to use scanners and detectors at the various borders and checkpoints to checkmate the movement of illegal arms/weapons across Nigeria.

Decision strategy researchers (Dietrich, 2010; Spittal, Walky, McClure, & Siegert, 2008; McClure, White, & Sibley, 2009; Lee & Acker, 2004; Druckman & McDermott, 2008), have noted that decision making in general and security strategy decision in particular appear not to be as easy and simple as perceived, and is influenced by several inter/intra personal, psychological, situational, socio-cultural and economic factors such as past experiences (Juliusson, Karison, & Garling, 2005), age and personality differences (Fischoff & de Bruin 1999), believe in personal relevance (Acevedo, & Krueger, 2004), and situational variables like the amount of information available to the individual (Kuhberger, 1995).

When individuals are faced with situations that require them to take drastic (like in insecurity/war times) or thoughtful (like in business/investment scenarios) decisions, the choices they eventually make, has been shown to be affected by both their psychological, social and situational factors (Jepma & Lopez-Sola, 2014; Kazumi & Daisuke, 2011; Meong, Brent & Lisa, 2010; Mintz, Redd & Vedlitz, 2006), and notable of these situational variables is the way the information is presented to the decision maker. Researchers (Tversky & Kahnemann, 1981; Levin, Schneider & Gaeth, 1998) tried to present same information differently through their choice of words and appearance to respondents to observe how such structural changes in the presentation of the same information would affect people’s reactions to it. The phenomenon that people’s decisions are biased by the way in which information is presented has been demonstrated in a variety of decision making situations and is called framing effect (Kahnemann & Tversky, 1979; Tversky & Kahnemann, 1982; Kabnemann, Slovic & Tversky, 1982; Levin & Chapman, 1990).

Framing refers to the way in which a piece of information is presented to a listener by a speaker either in positive or negative terms (Druckman, 2001; Kazuimi & Daisuke, 2011). It refers to the presentation of a piece of information, that is objectively the same, in different ways or terms that could make people perceive it differently. For example, a cognitive researcher cum marketer may present an approved book for his or her course to the students with the information, “buying the book increases the students’ chances of doing well in the course by 95%” made available to one class, while another class were informed that “buying the book leaves them at 5% chance of not doing well in the course”. It is expected that the group of students who were informed that the book aids their doing well in the course by 95% will feel more eager to buy the book, while those who were informed that the book leaves them with 5% chance of failing the course would feel reluctant at buying the book, even though, the two pieces of information were objectively the same only that they differed in their presentation and emphasis (95% and 5% chances of doing well and not doing well respectively).

Framing has been classified into three basic categories 1) goal framing-which deals with different information on the various goals an individual aims to achieve in a given time and situation, 2) attribute framing-which deals with information concerning the distinctive features of choice options available to the decision maker, and 3) risk framing- which concerns the consequences of making the right or wrong decision (Levin,, 1998). Each of these broad categories have their key areas of interest, however, the current study is anchored on risk framing and is concerned with the positive and negative presentation of information on the implications of making a good or poor, and succeeding or failing on a task. Xu, Broster, Wu, van Dan, Jiang, Fan & Luo, (2013) assert that risky framing effect occurs when two messages that are logically equivalent but differently phrased have divergent effects on people’s responses. Framing effect is said to be present when an equivalent description of a decision problem leads to systematically different choices by respondents. Risky framing effect(or risky choice framing, Levin, Schneider, & Gaeth, 1998) was initially employed by Tversky and Kahneman (1981) to describe the finding that simple changes in the wording of decision problems can lead to different preferences. For instance, they found in their seminal paper in which they introduced the Asian disease problem that despite all options being logically equivalent (but not transparently equivalent) with only the degree of risk inherent in the option differing, participants displayed a risk-aversion bias in the positive frame (72% choosing the certain option over the risky option). However, in the negative frame there was evidence of a risk-seeking bias (78% choosing the risky option over the certain option). Drawing on prospect theory Kahneman and Tversky (1979) argued that the wording of information makes people code the outcomes of identical options either as gains or as losses and their responses will reflect such coding.

Risky framing effect is a deviation from the rational choice theory (that decision making is only a thoughtful process that is devoid of hasty or situational forces), and a confirmation of the prospect theory that decision makers are influenced by both personal, situational and environmental factors (McClure &Sibley, 2011; Pinon & Gambara, 2005). It probes into the different mental and cognitive processes that impinge on human decision making exercises and the shortcoming of the human ability to lay absolute control of our decision choices (Mandel, 2001).

Decision making has also often been influenced by an individual’s level of confidence on the likely outcome and what he/she expects from a situation. This level of confidence has been termed certainty effect (Tversky & Kahnemann, 1979; Panasiak & Perry, 2013) and it reflects the sure-thing principle (Evren, 2014). Certainty effect connotes that people will make an investment or not if they are convinced that their expectation will be realized or not. Studies have also shown that when people are sure and confident about the possible realization of their decision choices, they tend to be risk-aversive or risk-avoidance, however, when they cannot guarantee the outcome that will follow their decision option, they would rather remain risk- seeking (Wu & Gunzalez, 1998; Agranov & Ortoleva 2014; Kazumi & Diasuke, 2011; Ikefuji, Laeven, Magnus & Muris, 2013). Accordingly, the certainty effect happens when people overweight outcomes that are considered certain relative to outcomes that are merely possible. It is a psychological phenomenon wherein a decision maker pays more attention or picks deals that he or she is certain to benefit rather than taking deals where the profit margin is not sure.



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