Our findings initially appear different from those of

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Our findings initially appear different from those of some other studies. Fyhri and Phillips (2013; Phillips et al., 2011) found that risk taking in downhill bicy-cling, measured through riding speed, did not simply increase when a helmet was worn; rather, the people who normally cycled with a helmet took fewer risks when riding without one. Why did the participants in Fyhri and Phillips’s study who were not habitual helmet users not react to wearing a helmet with increased risk taking, as our experiment might suggest they would? Clearly more work is needed to definitively pin down at The University of Hong Kong Libraries on February 14, 2016pss.sagepub.comDownloaded from
292 Gamble, WalkerHelmetCapaScore10203040HelmetCapbScoreHelmet(Time 1)Helmet(Time 2)Helmet(Time 3)Cap(Time 1)Cap(Time 2)Cap(Time 3)cScore-20020406080100-2002040608010010203040203040506020304050602030405060203040506020304050602030405060Fig. 2. Distribution of scores for the helmet and cap conditions on (a) the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART), (b) the Sensation-Seeking Scale, and (c) state anxiety, measured using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). For anxiety, scores are shown separately for time points before donning the eye tracker (Time 1), while wearing the eye tracker (Time 2), and after removing the eye tracker (Time 3). For each measure, the mean score across conditions is indicated by a vertical dotted line, and the mean score for each condition separately is indicated by a thick vertical line. Individual participants’ scores are shown as thin vertical lines (rug points; stacked when more than 1 participant obtained the same score). Overlaid on the rug-point plots are kernel-density curves (with arbitrary scaling) that illustrate the overall distribution of scores within each condition.at The University of Hong Kong Libraries on February 14, 2016pss.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Helmets, Risk Taking, and Sensation Seeking293all the mechanisms here, but for now, we speculate that the difference might be related to considerable varia-tions between the two studies’ procedures. Fyhri and Phillips greatly emphasized the physicality of their task (“to increase the difference in measures between the helmet-on and -off conditions, all participants were instructed to cycle using one-hand in both conditions”; p. 60), which provides a direct link between the action (bicycling) and the condition (helmet wearing) that was absent in our study. Moreover, that study used a repeated measures design, in which participants were aware they were riding a bicycle both with and without a helmet. This could have meant that behavior changed through mechanisms different from those seen here, where participants took part only in one condition and were not aware of any manipulation, nor even that they were specifically wearing a safety device.

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