Medical decision-making is often related to risk and uncertainty, but existing research does not offer a comprehensive approach to this matter. We discuss the necessity to study cognitive representations of risks (CRRs), which we define as the subject’s images of risky situations, possible outcomes, and alternative decisions. The psychometric approach towards risk assessment often involves the evaluation of different risks, but we aim to create such a list from medical professionals’ expert knowledge. Via qualitative analysis, CRRs were obtained from interviews with practicing doctors from Russia (N = 24). The list includes 21 risks from real-life medical practice, with seven aspects for numerical evaluation each. Then, practicing doctors (N = 64) evaluated CRRs along with filling risk-related personality traits questionnaires: Personal Decision-Making Factors Questionnaire, Melbourne Decision Making Questionnaire, Ten Item Personality Measure, and Budner’s Intolerance of Ambiguity Scale. A correlational analysis showed interconnections between most CRRs aspects, with predictability and negative outcome probability seemingly being the central aspects of the risk assessment. CRRs aspects were also found to be gender- and experience-specific, with female doctors and younger specialists being more sensitive to professional risks. Personality traits in relation to CRRs aspects, medical experience and gender are also discussed.
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