Term of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Jeffrey Klibert

Committee Member 1

Ty Boyer

Committee Member 2

Lawrence Locker


Hypomania is an episodic mood state that closely resembles mania, and it is characterized by irritability, euphoria, racing thoughts, and impulsivity. The present study focuses on risk-taking, a behavioral manifestation of impulsivity, and the potential working memory mechanisms responsible for eliciting this behavior in people affected by hypomanic symptoms. Specifically, research suggests that taxing working memory accelerates the process by which individuals with high levels of hypomanic symptoms engage in risk-taking. The purpose of the current study was to examine the effects on hypomanic traits and working memory taxation on a behavioral measure of risk-taking. One hundred and forty-five participants with varying levels of hypomanic functioning were asked to complete the Balloon Analog Risk Task (BART), a computerized behavioral risk-taking measure, while experiencing various levels of working memory taxation. Number of balloon pumps and reaction time were recorded by the BART and used as measures of risk-taking. An analysis of the data revealed no significant effects of working memory on balloon pumps or reaction time. However, there were hypomania group differences on reaction time such that high-hypomania participants had faster reaction times compared to those in the low-hypomania group. Practical implications for future research are considered.