Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Decision-making research in children: Rules of thumb are learned with time

19.10.2016

Children as young as nine years old use rules of thumb systematically when making decisions. But they are not as good as older children at telling when it is helpful to do so. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and the University of California, Berkeley, have investigated decision-making behavior in children and adolescents. Their findings have been published in Developmental Psychology.

Which city has the larger population: Chicago or Akron? If you don’t know, you might base your judgement on which of the two names you recognize. This “recognition heuristic” often leads to astonishingly good results. After all, we are more likely to have read or heard about bigger cities or about more successful athletes, companies, or universities.

There has been much research on the strategic use of the recognition heuristic in adults. But developmental psychological research investigating younger people’s use of the heuristic is rare. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and the University of California, Berkeley, have investigated whether and how well children and young people are able to use the recognition heuristic when they don’t immediately know the answer to a question.

Over one hundred Italian schoolchildren aged 9, 12, and 17 years participated in the study. In a series of tasks, they were asked to judge which of two cities had a larger population, or which of two diseases occurred more frequently in their country. In addition, they were asked which of the cities and diseases they had heard of before the experiment.

The accuracy and speed of their judgements increased with age. “Nine- and twelve-year-olds are already able to use the recognition heuristic systematically. But older adolescents are better able to adapt their use of the strategy to the situation,” says Sebastian Horn, lead author of the study and researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development.

In other words, nine- and twelve-year-olds are not yet able to distinguish between situations in which using a recognition strategy is beneficial and situations in which it is not. For example, the recognition heuristic is less helpful in estimating the occurrence of diseases than it is in gauging the size of cities. This is because how widely a disease is known has little to do with how often it occurs.

For example, everyone has heard of the plague, but it is practically extinct. But only the 17-year-olds took that factor into account in the study. Participants in this age group knew when they could successfully apply the recognition strategy and when not: They used the recognition heuristic about three times more often in the city context than in the disease context. This finding also reflects the 17-year-olds’ larger base of knowledge and experience.

“The city size question is often used in research on judgment and decision making with adults, but it is not easy for children to answer. By asking children the same questions, we were able to compare children with older and younger adults for the first time,” says coauthor Azzurra Ruggeri, who works at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development.


Background Information

Original Publication
Horn, S. S., Ruggeri, A., & Pachur, T. (2016). The development of adaptive decision making: Recognition-based inference in children and adolescents. Developmental Psychology, 52, 1470-1485. doi:10.1037/dev0000181

Max Planck Institute for Human Development
The Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin was founded in 1963. It is an interdisciplinary research institution dedicated to the study of human development and education. The Institute belongs to the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science, one of the leading organizations for basic research in Europe.

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.mpib-berlin.mpg.de/en/media/2016/10/decision-making-research-in-chil...

Kerstin Skork | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

More articles from Science Education:

nachricht The classroom of tomorrow – DFKI and TUK open lab for new digital teaching and learning methods
03.05.2018 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

nachricht Studying outdoors is better
06.02.2018 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Science Education >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch

22.05.2018 | Life Sciences

PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target

22.05.2018 | Earth Sciences

Achema 2018: New camera system monitors distillation and helps save energy

22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>