Dr Jonathan Rolison

Reader (R)
Department of Psychology
Dr Jonathan Rolison

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Decision making and risk taking behaviour

The broad area of my research is decision making, particularly decisions involving risk. I have a number of lines of research in this domain, including how people conceptualise risk (e.g., do all people think of risk in the same way?), how people trade-off the risks and benefits of activities, and whether people use other strategies or sources of information to make their decisions. My research also has an emphasis on how decisions differ between people, namely why some people are more likely than others to take a risk.

Open to supervise

Risk communication

My research explores perception and communication of health risks and health-related decision making. One of my aims in this area is to develop methods for overcoming barriers to effective risk communication. For example, my work has shown that maths anxiety impedes understanding of numerical health risks, but that some of the negative effects of maths anxiety can be alleviated with graphical presentation aids.

Open to supervise

Road safety

My research on risk has an applied focus on the risks faced by young and elderly drivers. My research has investigated whether drivers of these ages are a danger to themselves and to other road users. I have introduced new statistical tools for the assessment of driver crash risk and have identified contributing factors to road accidents. I have worked closely on these projects with the UK Department for Transport.

Open to supervise

Adult development and ageing

One line of my research is how decision making and risk taking behaviours change across adulthood. My research in this area is aimed at explaining why people become more cautious in older age and whether age changes in risk taking behaviours are beneficial or harmful.

Open to supervise

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Applied Psychology (PS118)

  • Developmental Psychology (PS406)

  • Psychology of Health (PS423)

  • Ageing: Mind, Brain, and Behaviour (PS503)

  • Decision making science in theory and practice (PS512)

  • MSc Psychology Research Project (PS900)

  • Advanced Developmental Psychology (PS931)

  • Advanced Psychology of Health (PS951)

  • Research Project (MSc) (PS934)

  • Psychology Project (PS300)


Journal articles (55)

Rolison, J., (2024). Diversity in the study of aging and lifespan development. Current Opinion in Psychology. 57, 101802-101802

Rolison, J., Gooding, P., Russo, R. and Buchanan, K., (2024). Who should decide how limited healthcare resources are prioritized? Autonomous technology as a compelling alternative to humans. PLoS One. 19 (2), e0292944-e0292944

Rolison, JJ. and Freund, AM., (2024). What is the psychology of aging?. Current Opinion in Psychology, 101824-101824

Jolles, D., Lamarche, VM., Rolison, JJ. and Juanchich, M., (2023). Who will I be when I retire? The role of organizational commitment, group memberships and retirement transition framing on older worker’s anticipated identity change in retirement. Current Psychology. 42 (18), 15727-15741

Rolison, J., (2023). The psychological drivers of self-reported risk preference. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. 49 (10), 1635-1661

Buchanan, KE., Rolison, JJ., Jinga, I., Thompson, J. and Russo, R., (2022). Who tugs at our heart strings? The effect of avatar images on player generosity in the dictator game.. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. 75 (3), 377-389

McMichael, AJ., Kane, JPM., Rolison, JJ., O'Neill, FA., Boeri, M. and Kee, F., (2022). Implementation of personalised medicine policies in mental healthcare: results from a stated preference study in the UK. BJPsych Open. 8 (2), e40-

Rolison, JJ., Pachur, T., McCormack, T. and Feeney, A., (2022). Developmental differences in description-based versus experience-based decision making under risk in children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. 219, 105401-105401

Rolison, J. and Lamarche, V., (2022). Do older adults construct more emotionally gratifying social environments than younger adults? Evidence from a social network decision task. Current Psychology. 42 (33), 29418-29434

Lamarche, VM. and Rolison, JJ., (2021). Hand-in-hand in the golden years: Cognitive interdependence, partner involvement in retirement planning, and the transition into retirement. PLoS One. 16 (12), e0261251-e0261251

Rolison, J. and Shenton, J., (2020). How much risk can you stomach? Individual differences in the tolerance of perceived risk across gender and risk domain. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making. 33 (1), 63-85

Rolison, J., (2020). Identifying the causes of road traffic collisions: Using police officers’ expertise to improve the reporting of contributory factors data. Accident Analysis and Prevention. 135, 105390-105390

Rolison, J., Morsanyi, K. and Peters, E., (2020). Understanding health risk comprehension: The role of math anxiety, subjective numeracy, and objective numeracy. Medical Decision Making. 40 (2), 222-234

Rolison, J. and Moutari, S., (2020). Combinations of Factors Contribute to Young Driver Crashes. Journal of Safety Research. 73, 171-177

Hanoch, Y., Rolison, J. and Freund, AM., (2019). Reaping the Benefits and Avoiding the Risks: Unrealistic Optimism in the Health Domain. Risk Analysis. 39 (4), 792-804

Rolison, JJ., Hanoch, Y. and Freund, AM., (2019). Perception of Risk for Older Adults: Differences in Evaluations for Self versus Others and across Risk Domains. Gerontology. 65 (5), 547-559

Rolison, J., (2019). What could go wrong? No evidence of an age-related positivity effect when evaluating outcomes of risky activities. Developmental Psychology. 55 (8), 1788-1799

Hanoch, Y., Rolison, JJ. and Freund, AM., (2018). Does Medical Risk Perception and Risk Taking Change with Age?. Risk Analysis. 38 (5), 917-928

Miron-Shatz, T., Rapaport, SR., Srebnik, N., Hanoch, Y., Rabinowitz, J., Doniger, GM., Levi, L., Rolison, JJ. and Tsafrir, A., (2018). Invasive Prenatal Diagnostic Testing Recommendations are Influenced by Maternal Age, Statistical Misconception and Perceived Liability. Journal of Genetic Counseling. 27 (1), 59-68

Rolison, JJ. and Moutari, S., (2018). Risk-Exposure Density and Mileage Bias in Crash Risk for Older Drivers. American Journal of Epidemiology. 187 (1), 53-59

Rolison, JJ., Regev, S., Moutari, S. and Feeney, A., (2018). What are the factors that contribute to road accidents? An assessment of law enforcement views, ordinary drivers’ opinions, and road accident records. Accident Analysis and Prevention. 115, 11-24

Regev, S., Rolison, JJ. and Moutari, S., (2018). Crash risk by driver age, gender, and time of day using a new exposure methodology. Journal of Safety Research. 66, 131-140

Mercier, H., Rolison, JJ., Stragà, M., Ferrante, D., Walsh, CR. and Girotto, V., (2017). Questioning the preparatory function of counterfactual thinking. Memory and Cognition. 45 (2), 261-269

Rolison, JJ., Wood, S. and Hanoch, Y., (2017). Age and Adaptation: Stronger Decision Updating about Real World Risks in Older Age. Risk Analysis. 37 (9), 1632-1643

McMichael, AJ., Boeri, M., Rolison, JJ., Kane, J., O’Neill, FA., Scarpa, R. and Kee, F., (2017). The Influence of Genotype Information on Psychiatrists’ Treatment Recommendations: More Experienced Clinicians Know Better What to Ignore. Value in Health. 20 (1), 126-131

Rolison, JJ. and Pachur, T., (2017). How Well Do We Know Our Inner Daredevil? Probing the Relationship Between Self-Report and Behavioral Measures of Risk Taking. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making. 30 (2), 647-657

Rolison, JJ., Hanoch, Y. and Wood, S., (2017). Saving for the future: Dynamic effects of time horizon. Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics. 70, 47-54

Rolison, JJ., Morsanyi, K. and O’Connor, PA., (2016). Can I Count on Getting Better? Association between Math Anxiety and Poorer Understanding of Medical Risk Reductions. Medical Decision Making. 36 (7), 876-886

Travers, E., Rolison, JJ. and Feeney, A., (2016). The time course of conflict on the Cognitive Reflection Test. Cognition. 150, 109-118

McMichael, A., Rolison, JJ., Boeri, M., Francis, J., O?Neill, F. and Kee, F., (2016). How do psychiatrists apply the minimum clinically important difference to assess patient responses to treatment?. MDM Policy and Practice. 1 (1), 238146831667885-238146831667885

Hanoch, Y., Miron‐Shatz, T., Rolison, JJ., Omer, Z. and Ozanne, E., (2015). Shared decision making in patients at risk of cancer: the role of domain and numeracy. Health Expectations. 18 (6), 2799-2810

Rolison, JJ. and Hanoch, Y., (2015). Knowledge and risk perceptions of the Ebola virus in the United States. Preventive Medicine Reports. 2, 262-264

Gummerum, M., Hanoch, Y. and Rolison, JJ., (2014). Offenders’ Risk‐Taking Attitude Inside and Outside the Prison Walls. Risk Analysis. 34 (10), 1870-1881

Rolison, JJ., Hanoch, Y., Wood, S. and Liu, P-J., (2014). Risk-Taking Differences Across the Adult Life Span: A Question of Age and Domain. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B. 69 (6), 870-880

Hanoch, Y., Miron-Shatz, T., Rolison, JJ. and Ozanne, E., (2014). Understanding ofBRCA1/2genetic tests results: the importance of objective and subjective numeracy. Psycho-Oncology. 23 (10), 1142-1148

Srebnik, N., Miron-Shatz, T., Rolison, JJ., Hanoch, Y. and Tsafrir, A., (2014). Physician Recommendation for Invasive Prenatal Testing. Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey. 69 (3), 131-132

Rolison, JJ., Moutari, S., Hewson, PJ. and Hellier, E., (2014). Overestimated Crash Risks of Young and Elderly Drivers. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 46 (1), 58-64

Rolison, JJ., Hanoch, Y. and Gummerum, M., (2013). When Opportunity Matters: Comparing the Risk‐Taking Attitudes of Prisoners and Recently Released Ex‐Prisoners. Risk Analysis. 33 (11), 2013-2022

Srebnik, N., Miron-Shatz, T., Rolison, JJ., Hanoch, Y. and Tsafrir, A., (2013). Physician recommendation for invasive prenatal testing: the case of the 'precious baby'. Human Reproduction. 28 (11), 3007-3011

Rolison, JJ., Hewson, PJ. and Hellier, E., (2013). Rolison et al. Respond. American Journal of Public Health. 103 (7), e2-e2

Rolison, JJ., Wood, S., Hanoch, Y. and Liu, P-J., (2013). Subjective Numeracy Scale as a Tool for Assessing Statistical Numeracy in Older Adult Populations. Gerontology. 59 (3), 283-288

Rolison, JJ., Hewson, PJ., Hellier, E. and Hurst, L., (2013). Risks of High-Powered Motorcycles Among Younger Adults. American Journal of Public Health. 103 (3), 568-571

Marcatto, F., Rolison, JJ. and Ferrante, D., (2013). Communicating clinical trial outcomes: Effects of presentation method on physicians' evaluations of new treatments. Judgment and Decision Making. 8 (1), 29-33

Rolison, JJ., Hanoch, Y. and Gummerum, M., (2013). Characteristics of offenders: the HEXACO model of personality as a framework for studying offenders’ personality. The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology. 24 (1), 71-82

Hanoch, Y., Rolison, J. and Gummerum, M., (2013). Good things come to those who wait: Time discounting differences between adult offenders and nonoffenders. Personality and Individual Differences. 54 (1), 128-132

Rolison, JJ., Hewson, PJ. and Hellier, E., (2013). Rolison et al. respond. American journal of public health. 103 (7), creators-Rolison=3AJonathan_J=3A=3A

Hanoch, Y., Gummerum, M. and Rolison, J., (2012). Second-to-Fourth Digit Ratio and Impulsivity: A Comparison between Offenders and Nonoffenders. PLoS ONE. 7 (10), e47140-e47140

Rolison, JJ., Hanoch, Y. and Miron-Shatz, T., (2012). What do men understand about lifetime risk following genetic testing? The effect of context and numeracy.. Health Psychology. 31 (4), 530-533

Rolison, JJ., Hanoch, Y. and Wood, S., (2012). Risky decision making in younger and older adults: The role of learning.. Psychology and Aging. 27 (1), 129-140

Rolison, JJ., Hewson, PJ., Hellier, E. and Husband, P., (2012). Risk of Fatal Injury in Older Adult Drivers, Passengers, and Pedestrians. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 60 (8), 1504-1508

Rolison, JJ., Evans, JSBT., Dennis, I. and Walsh, CR., (2012). Dual-processes in learning and judgment: Evidence from the multiple cue probability learning paradigm. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. 118 (2), 189-202

Rolison, JJ., Hanoch, Y. and Miron-Shatz, T., (2012). Smokers: At risk for prostate cancer but unlikely to screen. Addictive Behaviors. 37 (6), 736-738

Rolison, JJ. and Edworthy, J., (2012). The Role of Formal Structure in Liking for Popular Music. Music Perception. 29 (3), 269-284

Hanoch, Y., Gummerum, M. and Rolison, JJ., (2012). Second-to-fourth digit ratio and impulsivity: a comparison between offenders and nonoffenders.. PloS One. 7 (10), creators-Rolison=3AJonathan_J=3A=3A

Rolison, JJ., Evans, JSBT., Walsh, CR. and Dennis, I., (2011). The Role of Working Memory Capacity in Multiple-Cue Probability Learning. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. 64 (8), 1494-1514

Conferences (1)

Boeri, M., McMichael, A., Rolison, JJ. and Kee, F., (2020). The needs of many vs the needs of few: Is society willing to pay for stratified medicine?

Grants and funding


Provide KTP RA support


Provide KTP RA support


Provide KTP RA support



Provide KTP 2018


Provide KTP 2018

Innovate UK (formerly Technology Strategy Board)


A New Metric for the Assessment of Driver Crash Risks

Engineering & Physical Sciences Res.Council

The development of a new road accident reporting system

The Secretary of State for Transport

+44 (0) 1206 874882


2.718, Colchester Campus

More about me