Loss Aversion User Experience (UX) topic overview/definition

Loss Aversion: Concept Definition

Loss aversion is a behavioral economics concept that refers to people judging loss avoidance as more important than acquiring equivalent gain. That is, the unhappiness from losing $10 is greater than the happiness of finding $10. Loss aversion influences decision making, and plays a part in determining the appropriate copy to use in designs.

Loss aversion was coined by researchers Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, who did a number of experiments on decision making. Their experiments show that potential losses are twice as impactful on happiness than potential gains. This means that if the average person must risk something in order to gain something, they will like the gain to be at least twice as much as the risk.

Loss aversion means that it is important how information is provided on webpages and interfaces where decisions have to be made. How we describe potential losses and gains will affect how likely people are to purchase something or choose an option. For example, it is better to frame an option in relation to what people stand to lose, rather than what they stand to gain, if they choose it—unless the potential gain is very high.

For your convenience, we’ve collected all UX literature that deals with Loss Aversion. Here’s the full list: