DART -- The Decisions about Risk Task

What is DART?

DART stands for the Decision about Risk Task.  We have developed several interrelated versions of DART, but all versions of DART serve the same core function.  DART is a computerized task that allows researchers to study people’s decision making under risk and/or uncertainty.  It presents research participants with an abstract analogue of situations in which people learn about potential hazards via multiple ways, and then make decisions about how to behave—namely whether to take risks regarding those hazards.  An important characteristic of DART is its flexibility for a researcher.  The following are examples of key variables that can be manipulated within DART:  the number of hazards, the probability of a hazard actually causing harm, the manner in which these probabilities are learned (via description or iterative experiences), the magnitude of harm that a hazard can inflict (potential loss), the potential benefits of risky choices (potential gains), the images used to represent the hazards, and the speed with which decisions must be made.  Behavioral choices constitute the main dependent measure in DART, but subjective probabilities can also be solicited in varying forms.  

Versions of DART

This site provides programs and information about 3 versions of DART: DART-Z (Authorware), DART-P (Authorware), and DART-P (Browser). In all versions, people control a person icon that represents the self, and they are immersed in an abstract virtual environment that requires decisions.  Two versions have “P” in the title, which stands for “Path.” The decisions in these involve choices of paths to take in a simulated journey (e.g., a safe path or a path that is risky because of a potential hazard).  The “Z” in DART-Z stands for “Zone.” The decisions in this version concern whether to continue with a desired activity or to momentarily retreat to a safe zone when a potential hazard appears. The Authorware versions are based in Adobe Authorware 7.  The Browser version was developed with Phaser, a desktop and mobile HTML5 framework.  JavaScript was also used in conjunction with a gaming framework to make the task more dynamic.  HTML5 and JavaScript are compatible with most modern browsers, so DART-P (Browser) can be run on most computers and tablets, whether based on Windows, Android, or iOS operating systems.  For most researchers, DART-P (Browser) would be the easiest version to modify for their own purposes and use for data collection.  

DART-Z (Authorware)
DART-P (Authorware)

DART-P (Browser)  <<<<best for most researchers


The development of DART was supported by funding from the National Science Foundation (SES-0961252-003).