Uncertainty avoidance

in #life3 years ago

Avoiding uncertainty is cultural

The uncertainty avoidance dimension relates to the degree to which individuals of a specific society are comfortable with uncertainty and the unknown. Countries displaying strong uncertainty avoidance index (UAI) believe and behave in a strict manner. Individuals belonging to those countries also avoid unconventional ways of thinking and behaving. Weak UAI societies display more ease in regards to uncertainty.[2]

There are both low and high uncertainty avoidance cultures. The list of cultures which are classified as high uncertainty avoidance cultures include:

  • Greece
  • Japan
  • Taiwan

While the low uncertainty avoidance cultures include

  • Denmark
  • United States
  • Singapore

People in cultures with high uncertainty avoidance try to minimize the occurrence of unknown and unusual circumstances and to proceed with careful changes step by step by planning and by implementing rules, laws and regulations. In contrast, low uncertainty avoidance cultures accept and feel comfortable in unstructured situations or changeable environments and try to have as few rules as possible. People in these cultures tend to be more pragmatic and more tolerant of change.[3]

In cultures which have a high uncertainty avoidance there is a deliberate and definite avoidance of ambiguity. In contract, cultures such as the United States are filled with ambiguity. In the United States our legal system contains a lot of ambiguity for example and people who attempt to follow the law are always uncertain about the level of risk they are under. In addition, in the United States there is a risk taking culture because risk taking is seen as the only way to get ahead.

There are two categories of imperfectly predictable events between which choices must be made: risky and ambiguous events (also known as Knightian uncertainty). Risky events have a known probability distribution over outcomes while in ambiguous events the probability distribution is not known. The reaction is behavioral and still being formalized. Ambiguity aversion can be used to explain incomplete contracts, volatility in stock markets, and selective abstention in elections (Ghirardato & Marinacci, 2001).[citation needed]

Could uncertainty avoidance also explain the gender gap in the crypto-space?

In the crypto space we notice that it is around 95% male. We have seen this consistently and the question is why? While I have not found a definition answer to that question there is a hypothesis that I do have which states that women culturally have a much higher uncertainty avoidance. This would translate into risk taking behavior and it seems that in most cultures the men are conditioned to be the risk takers.

Cultures showing high uncertainty avoidance have a low tolerance for ambiguity and vagueness in most day-to-day situations. In other words, they tend to be risk-averse and favour rules and a well-structured environment over unknown or unstructured situations. People in cultures with a low tolerance to uncertainty will also tend to establish laws, rules, regulations and control mechanisms to prevent any ambiguity or risk. In a business context, this means that in cultures that have a low tolerance to uncertainty you may find:

Could this tolerance for uncertainty in men merely be because men are more used to dealing with this level of uncertainty? This uncertainty avoidance hypothesis could also be used to explain why some countries adopt harsh regulations in fear of crypto while other cultures are more quick to embrace it. This isn't exactly correlated tightly though because we can look at both Japan and Singapore, neither of which seem to have harsh regulations. At the same time the United States is the land of guns and weapons, and the idea that people have a right to arms is quite unique to American culture. This shows that at least with regard to American culture, there is a deep acceptance of uncertainty, of risk.

Getting involved in the crypto space is perceived as very risky. It is very unorthodox, and there is a lot of fear surrounding these activities. Some of us see this as a once in a lifetime opportunity while others see it as too risky, or dangerous for society. The question which this blog tried to answer is whether or not cultural differences play a role. If it is cultural difference then societal conditioning may be a prime factor to explain why some are more willing to take risks of this sort than others.

What exactly is it about being American and male that would make someone become attracted to cryptocurrency? Is it distrust? Is it the need to feel independent? Is it the willingness to take big risks? What is it?


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambiguity_aversion
  2. http://fortune.com/2017/12/15/bitcoin-crypto-currency-women/
  3. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-01/being-a-woman-got-even-worse-in-2017-world-economic-forum-says
  4. https://www.ft.com/content/1419a5a0-befd-11e7-9836-b25f8adaa111

I'm fairly new to cryptocurrencies, but my sense is that crypto assets attract people who think for themselves and value personal freedom, e.g., Libertarians and others who are independently-minded. It also seems to me that crypto assets also attract a substantial number of younger adults - both men and women. A lot of younger people have seen what's happened in the financial markets over the last 10 years and believe it's riskier to invest in the stock market than in cryptos! According to this recent article, almost 1 in 3 Millennials would rather invest in bitcoin than the stock market.


While a disproportionate number of crypto investors are men, I think a big factor behind that is that most of the early adopters of crypo were very tech-savvy. I'm referring to people like those who worked in Silicon Valley, and who knew about bitcoin and could debate its merits with smart friends and colleagues long before the rest of us could. (They bought in at extremely low prices, too!) The tech industry has long been disproportionately male, but I believe that will change as more girls study science and engineering in college.

As the public becomes more knowledgeable about the crypto world, my hope and expectation is that independent minded people of both sexes will participate in and benefit from the long-term upside that crypto/distributed ledger technology will bring to society.

Agreed, and you can add privacy and security advocates to that mix, which would be me - female, tech savvy, and investment savvy. I saw the potential of cryptos immediately.

I was indeed wondering why most crypto users are men. I guess it's in our nature to take more risks than women do. Women tend to take actions that involve less risks, so it's only natural that we still don't see a lot of them getting involved into cryptos. But, let's say if in the future cryptos won't be as risky as they are now, will we see more female participants? I think we will, IF cryptos will ever become safer.

More females are on Steemit than most other platforms in crypto.

Yeah, because Steemit is a platform where you can blog, post videos etc. And you don't need any investments so it eliminates the risk part.

Like, why are most engineers men? if you answer that you got your answer too.
A higher percentage of girls don't like science and lean toward biology or lenguages, maybe because they like it more, that's all.

Fact check: biology IS a science. I am female and chose science as my major.

And, for the record, my sister is an engineer, and spent a couple of decades designing piping systems for everything from major Texas oil refineries to a Korean nuclear power plants. And her then-husband and business partner, an architect, deferred to her for the designing aspects, because that's where she excelled, and she knew more about it than he did.

While I agree that a disproportionate number of men are engineers, that is indeed changing; and I can tell you bluntly that a large part of the disparity in gender comes from the colleges themselves, and male professors and counselors who have in the past typically steered women AWAY from these fields. I was told point blank that I should major in Music or English.

The good news is that, in recent years, fewer and fewer women are listening to them, and are instead choosing to follow their hearts and their own interests, which is as it should be.

Bottom line, women are individuals, as are men. Any attempt to lump all of us - men or women - into a whole, are doomed to failure, which is also as it should be. Diversity is our strength!

Each person has the right to decide for him/herself, but also I can tell you that in countries where there is no discrimination and more women in the university than men like in Spain, women chose professions that don’t require hard science in general.
Yes I also know women that are good engineers and men that are good doctors and good nurses, but the reality is what it is and not what you would like it to be.
I have never seen a counselor before choosing what to study and I think most people here also don’t. We chose by ourselves.
And for me biology is science but not hard science, unless you go into research. Anyhow we were speaking about engineering.

Actually, biology these days is every bit as cutting-edge as engineering, as we are rapidly disproving the cherished "truths" of previous generations.

Science is science, and regardless of the degree, most science degrees require the same core classes to graduate. And that has been true all along.

As for "what I would like it be," I have no opinion.

I think that people should be able to study what they want to study, with no interference from others, but we're not there yet.

Hopefully we are getting closer.

So what is it about some men (and women) who could be steered away from certain things by elders (like with crypto) but they do it anyway? Those same professors who would tell a woman not to be an engineer would be telling men and women not to touch Bitcoin back in 2013.

Absolutely true.

Basically, it is up to each of us to make our own decisions, based upon the best information we have available to us, and go from there.

Too many people are ego driven, and far too concerned with what others think and will judge them for, but happily that was never me.

I studied what I wanted to study, and was never sorry for a moment, and I know my sister would agree.

it is not necessary to be an American or a man to deal with crypto-currencies, it depends on the giftedness and mental development. Also, the role of mentality plays a risk factor. that is, not even from countries where more or less are at risk, but from the nationality of a person. For example, people from the countries of the former union are less at risk, in the mentality of stability.generally difficult to unequivocally answer this question

We should avoid uncertainty except these thoughts. It's not good to think about these.

As to the last question - I think getting into crypto ticks lots of masculine boxes - it's thrilling, you can get to show how 'smart' you are, by suddenly making $100k and getting to 'brag', it's also quite 'techy' - broken down into 1s and 0s, no complex emotions to understand! Not to mention individualised.

It's also easy to access - all you need is a few quid and computer, and you can tick all of those masculine boxes while still living at home with your parents.

Finally, is it that much of a risk - I put 5% of my wealth in... it could be worth £100+K by the end of 2018, it could be worth much less, but if I lose it all, I wouldn't have lost that much proportionality... so it's not REALLY that much of a risk! I get the upsides, with hardly any downside.

Interesting! If you would ask me, before I have read your article, if uncertainty avoidance is based on cultures, I would say no, it is just basic human instinct ;-)

Well, live and learn!
There are nations (I have read, don't shoot me if it is not true) that their citizens are on average say bigger gamblers (Asia) so yeah there must be something there....

Cultures showing high uncertainty avoidance have a low tolerance for ambiguity and vagueness in most day-to-day situations. In other words, they tend to be risk-averse and favour rules and a well-structured environment over unknown or unstructured situations.

very evocative. ;)

Crypto is attractive because if offers a way to make transactions without using the traditional financial system, which can be considered broken.

In America, with th government taking away privacy and gaining more and more control, crypto is a perfect way to protect individual privacy when handling money. It is indeed risky, so not much people decide to get involved, but those who do can not only receive huge gains, but also can be part of a technological revolution never seen before.

In today’s world if you change the internet you change the world, and crypto is changing the internet, little by little, step by step.

I am @earnmoresteem and you got a 12.50% upvote courtesy of @malonmar! I invite you to send SBD with other post in memo and I will upvote you this new post.

I think the interest in crypto might largely depend on what social circles you exist within and which information sources you trust.

To expound on that further we could look at the various types of users of steemit for a microcosm of how this plays out, but I guess I won't for now because we're talking about a select few countries in the first part. There are more than a few people who follow some information sources that lead them to believe that centralized banking or governments are not to be trusted and they've been informed that crypto is the answer. There are some late-comers who've been told it's a nice scheme to make fast money. The list goes on.

The second grouping of nations is kind of surprising but maybe the biggest thing that ties them together is that they all have histories of trading with other nations via sea routes, whereas Japan had a closed society for a very long time, Greece kind of turned inward after a few invasions or two by outside empires, and Taiwan was (is?) not a country at all (their natives got decimated as they were displaced by Kuomintang forces, so it can be argued that they're culturally and ethnically very similar to the Chinese, who are also very insular).

Being risk-averse has a lot to do with it as far as your assumptions on women go, but everyone is an individual and everyone's risk tolerance is different. It could also be argued that the social circles and conversations that women are a part of explains why so many are the last to arrive in the crypto space, from what we've seen it's only recently that talk of crypto really hit strides on networks like twitter or ig, yet it's been discussed for much longer on places like reddit, which is male-dominated. The gender ratios alone on the networks that talked about crypto first meant that many more who had even the smallest exposure to crypto-talk would be male, at least in the early days.

If it all comes down, crashing and burning with mostly male shouts of panic and agony, there are going to be a lot of women who chose to withhold from the insanity telling their male counterparts infinite "I told you so"s.

Edited it just a... bit, lol.

After looking at the wiki and seeing what is cited there I'm not quite sure it all means much of anything, they're talking about ambiguity and it's kind of a nonsensical test of red and blue balls and one having a risky outcome versus one choice having an ambiguous or unknown outcome.

Women initially respond to ambiguity much more favorably than men, but as ambiguity increases, men and women show similar marginal valuations of ambiguity. Psychological traits are strongly associated with risk but not to ambiguity. Adjusting for psychological traits explains why a gender difference exists within risk aversion and why these differences are not a part of ambiguity aversion. Since psychological measures are related to risk but not to ambiguity, risk aversion and ambiguity aversion are distinct traits because they depend on different variables

And it may all be context-sensitive, so one measure of ambiguity might not apply everywhere, as detailed further down

One surprising feature of the results was that the links between choices in the single person decision and those in the games was not strong. Subjects appeared to perceive a greater level of ambiguity in a two-person coordination game, than a single person decision problem. More generally the results suggested that perceptions of ambiguity and even attitudes to ambiguity depend on context. Hence it may not be possible to measure ambiguity-attitude in one context and use it to predict behaviour in another.

Not saying you didn't read the wiki, just saying that ambiguity related science is still very nascent and they're pretty... ambiguous about how it all works.

A lot of food for thought with this post. I agree with people who value personal freedom, but I believe that age is a factor as well.

You're right in saying that the correlation does not stick, based off of countries like Japan and Singapore. I think that you're right though, it would seem to me that the American male would be interested in cryptocurrencies due to 1) Distrust, 2) The willingness to take risk and 3) The opportunity to be the early adopters and make their money before cryptocurrencies go main stream (which ties deeply with their willingness to take risks).

@dana-edwards You raise some good questions. I think there are many factors that draw people to crypto. The risk-reward factors certainly comes into play. Most people want in on the next big thing, and that could be crypto. Excellent questions you asked and thank you for sharing.

Dana-edwards Has tricked me worth 3 sbd
Do not let you be fooled also in steemit.chat

Really? Prove that statement. Show records on the blockchain proving you sent me 3 SBD and I'll send you 3 SBD.

Maybe your English is not good. The blockchain shows:

1 hour ago Transfer 3.000 SBD to poloniex 268db175fa78a5da

So you tried to send it to Poloniex. Had nothing to do with me. I suggest you contact: @poloniex .


It is possible you were scammed but I'm not the scammer. Be careful. https://steemit.com/scams/@dana-edwards/beware-of-scammers-pretending-to-be-me

world has blend of different amazing cultures. Nice post @dana-edwards. Fully upvoted through steemfollower.

I don't think it's a gender thing, as much as it is a knowledge thing . . . the majority of people in this country are not taught how to invest, or even how to evaluate a potential investment, and that is true for men and for women.

Hell, we don't even properly teach high school students how to budget or balance a checkbook, and that's a frigging crime. We are failing upcoming generations as a whole.

In my own case, I am a former stockbroker, and when I worked for a small municipal bond firm in Florida, I was allowed to do secondary trading for my own clients, which is highly unusual to say the least. In short, it gave me a crash course in investment analysis, in which I proved adept, which allowed me to make more money for my firm as a trader than I did as a broker, and allowed me to develop both a detailed and a big-picture viewpoint of potential investments.

I'm also a bit of a computer geek, have been online from the early days of the internet, and have always been interested in coding.

I have been told that, in many ways, I have more of a male perspective than female, and one of the people who thinks so is my husband. Perhaps it is because I have primarily worked in male-dominated industries, and have always had a wide circle of male friends.

In any case, I am the one who first got interested in crypto, researched it and brought it to the attention of my husband, and dragged him all but kicking and screaming into the future.

We are awaiting the approval of his Steemit account as we speak.

Most of the men involved in crypto don't have a lot of knowledge either. A lot of early adopters just bought Bitcoin because it was new and interesting. Then you have others who never traded in their life and learned how to become a sophisticated investor trial and error. So what makes some people willing to learn trial and error without anyone to help them or teach them or have any confidence in them while some others wait to be taught?

I think some people are just conditioned to have a greater risk tolerance, or at least that is the hypothesis I'm going with. I cannot find any better hypothesis for it but I do think if someone is waiting for an authority figure to declare crypto safe before they go and get involved it's going to be too late.

I totally agree.

I've always been willing to take calculated risks, as long as I have enough information to truly assess the risk, but many others see it as too much of a gamble.

But isn't that true of life as well?

US is definetly one place with a lot of uncertainty, and I see India on the same lines but Oman is a safe player. I guess it depends on the history of the place also for its people to behave in a certain manner.
Well for the crypto space yes the men ratio in the business is high, but then I guess that goes for the overall financial sector where the women ratio is very less.
My understanding says that even the population mix will decide, the more diversity, the more exposure to uncertainty.

very informative
never heard such a term! started to guess to what type Russia belongs.. our people life certainty most of all, its the basis of choosing a job, a husband, education and so on. Is it bad? Probably no, it gives assurance in tomorrow, the main is this assurance doesn't create a zone of comfort, out of which a person will never go..