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4.2 Ethical Considerations

As people are involved in this work, there are ethical considerations involved. Participants were completely anonymous, and unidentifiable in the research con- ducted. At no point of the experiment were details of the participants taken down, or listed in a database. All participants were assigned a unique ID number that was on the asset and allocation form. Ethical clearance was obtained early in the study, as per required guidelines.

4.3 Procedure

The experiment was composed of three stages. In stage 1, participants were asked to fill up the CRFS to determine their chronic regulatory focus. In stage 2, individuals sat in front of the eye tracker, and viewed the asset, then the portfolio scenarios. A larger proportion of time on a particular asset/portfolio indicated a selection, for the particular scenario. In stage 3, participants were given a self-report on which to indicate their asset and portfolio selections, identical to those on the screen. They then filled up a set of questions to reconfirm their financial literacy. The CRFS, allocation scenarios, self-report and financial literacy questions were in the same questionnaire provided to the participants. The results were analysed using SPSS. Table 4.1 illustrates the procedure of the research.

4.3.1 Sample Selection

A total of 105 participants (staff and students, aged 22–70 years, 60 females and 45 males) were recruited from the Malaysian campus of Monash University where the research was conducted, and participants were placed into a single condition. The Table 4.1 Procedure flowchart

use of college students as subjects for theoretical research is suitable (Calder et al. 1981), especially if strict alpha values are used (Enis et al. 1972). Moreover, the results obtained from student and non-student samples are similar (Beltramini 1983; Sheth 1970). All the students were from the business faculty, about to graduate within few months. They also had worked in various jobs (retail sales associates, private tuition, research assistants, wait staff) for at least ten hours a week and possessed internship experience for few months, as per their course requirements. They were thus deemed to be familiar with the general financial environment and able to relate to financial allocation situations presented. Although the participants did not possess familiarity with the nature of the financial environment similar to that of working adults, they were still suitable candidates for exploratory research on financial decision-making.

Participants were recruited by word-of-mouth, and the experiment was made

known to all suitable groups, i.e. staff and third-year students. Each subset of n individuals had the same probability of being chosen as another subset of n individuals (Yates et al. 2002). Simple random sampling is thus the technique applied. The study was advertised to a diverse group of participants, to minimise the effects of culture affecting the results, as denoted in the following sections.


4.3.1.1 Regulatory Focus and Culture

The demographic profile of the participants involved was typical of a university in Malaysia with a higher number of Asians than other ethnic groups. As the majority of participants were of Asian descent (collectivist cultures), this may predicate them to be of a particular chronic regulatory focus. The promotion system is more chronically accessible for people from individualist cultures, and the prevention system is more accessible for people from collectivist cultures (Lee et al. 2000).

However, it is proposed that students in a cosmopolitan and highly ranked university, would be exposed to a wide variety of ideas and modes of thought that may run contrary to their existing biases and regulatory foci. As such, it is predicted that an even split of chronic promotion and prevention participants would be observed, instead of most participants being chronic prevention focused, as pred- icated by their collectivist background.

4.3.1.2 Culture and Risk-Seeking

As this book concerns financial decision-making, the effect of the participants' culture on their risk attitudes is of concern. As indicated, most of the participants are from collectivist cultural backgrounds. Those from a collectivist society are more risk-seeking than those from individualist societies, perhaps those from col- lectivist societies are more likely to receive financial help if they are in need (Hsee and Weber 1999; Mandel 2003; Weber and Hsee 1998, 2000).

For studies conducted in the cosmopolitan environment of a highly ranked university, participants would be exposed to various modes of thought, both indi- vidualist and collectivist. This would minimise the effects of the inherent risk preferences. As long as financial literacy is controlled , other factors are unlikely to affect the results of the experiment, despite it being conducted in an Asian-based University. The next section looks into the asset and portfolio selections that will be measured by the eye tracker and self-report.

 
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