Does skiing powder make you smile? Does it make you feel good? Do these feelings impact your decision making? This last question was the focus of a pilot project we conducted in the winter of 2018/19. Our aim was to examine the effect of powder arousal, also known as “powder fever” on our willingness to take risk and violate social norms.
In 2006, the well-known behavioral economists Dan Ariely and George Loewenstein conducted a ground-breaking study on how sexual arousal affects decision making. In their study, they showed that sexual arousal had a strong impact on judgment and decision making, and that sexually aroused participants were more willing to violate social norms, and engage in higher risk activities, than non-aroused participants.
Our study attempts to replicate this work, but rather than sexual arousal, we wanted to examine the effect of powder arousal. To understand this issue, we conducted surveys in the field at Bridger Bowl in Montana on powder days, and non-powder days
Jordy Hendrikx1*, Andrea Mannberg2,3, Jerry Johnson4,1, Audun Hetland 3,5, Emily Lee6
1 Snow and Avalanche Lab, Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, 59715, USA
2 Centre for Avalanche Research and Education, UiT the Arctic University of Norway, Postboks 6050, Langnes, 9037 Tromsø, Norway
3 School of Business and Economics, UiT the Arctic University of Norway, Breivangvegen 23, 9010 Tromsø, Norway
4 Department of Political Science, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, 59715, USA
5 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health Sciences, UiT the Arctic University of Norway, Postboks 6050, Langnes, 9037 Tromsø, Norway
6 Science & Natural History Filmmaking, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, 59715, USA