Improving childrens decision-making through conscious awareness.

Improving childrens decision-making through conscious awareness.

Decision-making is key to everyday life, without the capacity to make decisions nothing could ever be achieved. Decision-making appears to have a prolonged course of development in humans. People of all ages are subject to errors and succumb to biases. Note for example confirmation bias a well documented influence of fast and frugal decisions. The confirmation bias states that we have a tendency to attribute little importance to contradictory information when considering a decision.

In a recent study children aged 3, 4, and 5 years of age took part in a popular psychological, decision-making task, the Children’s Gambling Task (CGT). The CGT consists of two desks of cards that display either happy or sad faces which correspond either a loss or win of stickers. The decks of cards vary in that one deck offers more wins than the other. After being asked to select a card the children were asked awareness questions (e.g., “When you picked up a card with yellow stars, 4, 5 or 6 stickers were sometimes taken away and you won some stickers. How many stickers did you win, 1 or 2?”). The awareness questions were asked to ensure that the children understood how many stickers that they had either lost or won.

The results of this study indicate that awareness of the consequence of a decision in 4 and 5 year olds was strongly correlated with advantageous choices. Three year olds did not benefit to the same extent as 4 and 5 year olds in knowing the consequences of their decisions. These findings demonstrate that decisions processes can gradually change as we age. The results further highlight the importance of conscious awareness in cognitive development.

Source article: Andrews & Moussaumai (2015).

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Daniel Edgcumbe

I am studying towards my PhD in cognitive neuroscience at a leading London university

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