People are assumed to evaluate options by assessing probabilities, weighting values, and integrating them in order to make a choice—all quintessentially cognitive activities. View or download all content the institution has subscribed to. Taken as a whole, these results suggest that risk-taking behaviors in adolescence can originate either intentionally or unintentionally, with each type of risk taking calling for a different kind of intervention. As dramatically illustrated in Figure 9, the ability to learn from experienced outcomes, good and bad, develops considerably with age, from childhood through young adulthood. Moadab, G., Bliss-Moreau, E., Bauman, M. D., & Amaral, D. G. (2017). (Naturally, such behaviors may have been adaptive at an earlier point in evolutionary history.) However, recent laboratory research has shown that decisions reverse when risks are described verbally versus experienced as outcomes in a learning task. (, Fischhoff, B., Slovic, P., Lichtenstein, S. (, Floyd, D.L., Prentice-Dunn, S., Rogers, R.W. Thus, as rational decision-making theories suggest, consideration of the role of benefits is important in predicting adolescent risk taking: Perceived benefits may loom larger than perceived risks and offset them. There is a growing consensus that the inability to connect consequent emotions to antecedent choices can produce debilitating social problems (such as those observed in Bechara et al. The first system is fast, associative, and intuitive, whereas the second one is slow, deliberative, and analytical. For example, studies indicate that most people rescued from suicide attempts are later glad that they were unsuccessful (e.g., Seiden's, 1978, classic study of survivors who jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge). Owing to their relative lack of experience, adolescents live in a more surprising world than adults do; they are less likely to be able to anticipate their future feelings and goals. These data have implications for hypotheses about the effects of accessibility of alcohol and for such public policies as raising drinking ages (see Grube, 2005). BEHAVIORAL DECISION THEORY 57 correlated (e.g. Caffray and Schneider (2000), for example, identify affective or emotional motivators that (a) promote risky behaviors by enhancing pleasant affective states, as in sensation seeking; (b) promote risky behaviors by reducing negative affective states, such as tension or depression; or (c) deter risky behaviors by avoiding anticipated regret. Normative analyses recognize that bad outcomes may follow good decisions, when chance intervenes, just as good luck may reward poor choices. During adolescence, substance use and other health-risk behaviors emerge, particularly among those who associate with peers engaging in such behaviors and less so for adolescents with less deviant peers. Cohn et al. Behavioral analyses focused on go decisions only, as stop decisions are the exact inverse of go decisions (with the exception of no decisions). (2001) explain, each of these inconsistent findings “conceptually make[s] some sense” (p. 502): Knowing that one is engaging in risky activities may lead to a heightened sense of personal risk, and it also makes sense that a reduced sense of vulnerability may contribute to greater risk taking. It could also be reasonably argued that more specific questions are less ambiguous and, thus, better reflect true assessments of risk. For example, it was speculated that participants rated a woman as more likely to be a feminist bank teller than a bank teller because they made the pragmatic inference that “bank teller” must refer to nonfeminist bank tellers. Because of the developmental differences that we have described, highly sophisticated logical and probabilistic reasoning competence, which can be demonstrated in children as young as 5 and 6 years old, is often not manifested under real-world conditions of risky decision making. As we discuss in some detail, ideas about emotion (as temptation and as a healthy cue) and personal experience with risks are being increasingly incorporated into contemporary theories, including traditional behavioral decision-making approaches. Prescriptive approaches bridge the gap between the normative and the descriptive accounts, focusing on those decisions that matter most. Fig. Thus, the sections that follow begin with a discussion of the importance of the topic—why adolescent risky decision making is important and what problems it causes for individuals and society. The behavioral decision-making theory proposes that adolescents and adults both weigh the potential rewards and consequences of an action. Fuzzy-trace theory, therefore, emphasizes reactions to cues in the environment, although the mental processes of advanced decision makers have been distinguished from merely acting on impulse (e.g., Reyna, 1991, 1995). Ultimately, we include both of the major schools of thought (coherence and correspondence) in our criteria for rational decision making, but others might justifiably side with one view rather than another (we present our arguments in depth later). Using decision theory as a framework, the workshop presentations examined who adolescents are as decision makers, the kinds of decisions they face, the contexts in which those decisions must be made, and the kinds of supports adolescents need in order to … Another consistent finding is that, when they are directly compared, benefits loom larger than risks. Fig. Throughout this monograph, we have pointed out robust developmental trends. TABLE 2 Adolescent Exposure to Risks and Early Onset of Risk-Taking Behavior. Success in training reasoning using fuzzy-trace theory has been achieved with children (Reyna, 1991) and adults (Lloyd & Reyna, 2001), and experimentation is in progress on instruction to reduce adolescent risk taking. Shedler & Block, 1990). For example, Benthin et al. Dudley, O'Sullivan, & Moreau, 2002). Thus, as a matter of public policy, it makes sense to foster rational decision processes (coherence) in adolescence in order to achieve desirable economic, psychological, and public health outcomes (correspondence; Baron & Brown, 1991; Beyth-Marom, Fischhoff, Quadrel, & Furby, 1991; Furby & Beyth-Marom, 1992). More formally, the normative analysis of a choice identifies the options in the decision makers' best interests, given their goals and the information available to them, all integrated by the application of a rational decision rule. (, Greenberg, M.T., Kusche, C.A., Cook, E.T., Quamma, J.P. (, Grisso, T., Steinberg, L., Woolard, J., Cauffman, E., Scott, E., Graham, S., Lexcen, F., Reppucci, N.D., Schwartz, R. (, Halpern-Felsher, B.L., Biehl, M., Kropp, R.Y., Rubinstein, M.L. Information-processing (computational) or behavioral decision theories, in contrast, suggest that instruction in careful deliberation can be taught as a matter of explicit description of options, thorough consideration of consequences, and rational rules for combining probabilities with outcomes (see also Moshman, 2004, for a not-dissimilar approach to rationality in terms of metacognition). Quality decision-making may protect adolescents from substance abuse. Many of the behaviors we have discussed—smoking, drug use, and unsafe sexual activity—appear to offer immediate pleasures, whereas any adverse outcomes are generally longer term (e.g., Herrnstein, & Prelec, 1992). On the other hand, according to fuzzy-trace theory, increases in cognitive illusions in childhood and adolescence are predicted because of the increased reliance during this period on intuitive qualitative (i.e., gist-based) thinking that reflects knowledge, including social knowledge, and experience (e.g., Reyna, 1996; Reyna & Adam, 2003). The limited effectiveness of these programs in the short term and their tendency to wane in effectiveness in the long term (e.g., more than 6 months to a year) suggest not that intervention is futile but that the incorporation of additional explanatory and predictive factors is needed to reduce adolescent risk taking (or, alternatively, to acknowledge the rationality or adaptiveness of risk-taking behaviors in this population in the environments they face). HIV knowledge, personal contact and sexual risk behavior of psychiatrically referred Latino adolescent girls, Adolescents' perceived risk for STDs and HIV infection, Integration of the cognitive and psychodynamic unconscious, A genetic model of creativity and the Type T personality complex with educational implications, Alcohol misuse and adolescent sexual behaviors and risk taking, Judgment and decision making: The dance of affect and reason, Development of and in behavioral decision research, Teen expectations for significant life events, Fault trees: Sensitivity of assessed failure probabilities to problem representation, Toward an understanding of the role of perceived risk in HIV prevention research, Understanding and promoting AIDS-preventive behavior: Insights from the theory of reasoned action, A meta-analysis of research on protection motivation theory, Risk-taking and contraceptive behavior among unmarried college students, Anatomy of a decision: Striato-orbitofrontal interactions in reinforcement learning, decision making, and reversal, Outcome expectancies and risk-taking behavior, Risk taking in adolescence: A decision-making perspective, Earlier development of the accumbens relative to orbitofrontal cortex might underlie risk-taking behavior in adolescents, Peer influence on risk taking, risk preference, and risky decision making in adolescence and adulthood: An experimental study, Complex decision-making in early childhood, A longitudinal study of the reciprocal nature of risk behaviors and cognitions in adolescents: What you do shapes what you think and vice versa, A theory-based dual focus alcohol intervention for pre-adolescents: The strong African-American families program, Reasoned action and social reaction: Willingness and intention as independent predictors of health risk, A social reaction model of adolescent health risk, Context and cognitions: Environmental risk, social influence, and adolescent substance use, How do we tell an association from a rule? This conclusion about gaps in older models holds even when higher methodological standards, such as conditional risk assessments (e.g., estimating the risk of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases if one has sex without a condom) and prospective designs that control for initial perceptions and behavior, are used in research (see Brewer, Weinstein, Cuite, & Herrington, 2004; Gerrard, Gibbons, Benthin, & Hessling, 1996; Weinstein & Nicolich, 1993; and Weinstein, Rothman, & Nicolich, 1998, for details concerning design and methodology). Thus, fuzzy-trace theory offers a view of decision makers that is antithetical to classical decision theory's probability-calculating, utility-maximizing individuals. Most decision theorists still accept the standard view because of the very real difficulties of evaluating other people's personal goals. In the absence of stereotypes, object judgments remained unbiased. In other words, people might not be capable of engaging in rational decision making, as defined by utility maximization or some other rule, but that should not be confused with what is defined as normatively ideal (i.e., what prescription should aim to get as close as possible to, even if the normative ideal is never reached). 11. The difference between fuzzy-trace theory and traditional behavioral decision theory, however, is that the former generally encourages simple gist-based intuition as a way to improve thinking (e.g., Lloyd & Reyna, 2001; Reyna, 1991), whereas the latter encourages information-rich quantitative thinking as a way to improve thinking. In particular, in situations of deficit (loss), deprivation, starvation, or when one has “nothing to lose,” risk taking may offer the only means of improving one's situation, as research on foraging in animals indicates (Weber et al., 2004). Customarily, that is an expected utility rule, which multiplies the utility (or attractiveness) of each outcome by the probability of its being obtained for each option. In this study, the neurobiological theory of adolescent decision making and risk taking and the dual-process decision making theory were tested in a sample of college students. As these conflicting results about perceived vulnerability so readily demonstrate, correlational and observational studies are necessary in studying adolescent risk taking, but they are not sufficient. The latter characterization resembles the behavior of adolescents (as confirmed by Crone & van der Molen, 2004; Hooper et al., 2004); and indeed, in a modification of the Bechara et al. Fuzzy Trace Theory and Medical Decisions by Minors: Differences in Reasoning between Adolescents and Adults Evan A. Wilhelms, Evan A. Wilhelms * *Address correspondence to: Evan A. Wilhelms, BS, G77 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall, Department of Human Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 14850, USA. To take but a few examples, the representativeness heuristic in probability judgment is illustrated by weighting individuating information (often information that allows an individual to be easily stereotyped) more than appropriate quantitative information such as relative frequencies. maintain that anticipated emotion is a cognitive exercise in trading off anticipated costs and benefits. Thus, there is empirical support for the health-belief model (and its variants, including protection-motivation theory). Some theorists have attempted to fix this apparent shortcoming in traditional theories (i.e., the prediction that seemingly irrational self-destructive behavior could be construed as rational pursuit of personal goals) by appealing to notions of addiction and temporal discounting (the idea that delayed outcomes are valued less), among other concepts. Cooper, Agocha, and Sheldon (2000) similarly found that adolescents with negative affect and avoidant personalities were more likely to engage in substance use and other risky behaviors, presumably to assuage their negative affect (see also Chassin, Pillow, Curran, Molina, & Barrera, 1993). Prescriptive research asks questions such as do we understand adolescents well enough to help them appreciate the long-term consequences of their actions and do we understand their world well enough to reduce unmanageable social pressures? Particularly Exciting Experiments in Psychology™ (PeePs) is a free summary of ongoing research trends common to six APA journals that focus on experimental psychology. Somerville and colleagues (2017, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General) (PDF, 315KB) had participants aged 12–28 play one-armed bandit games in which two choices that differed in average reward magnitude were presented. That is, both groups of adolescents could exhibit an optimistic bias, although higher-risk groups might exhibit less of a bias than lower-risk groups might. However, research testing these semantic and pragmatic explanations for human performance found them to account for only a small proportion of variance, despite their rhetorical appeal (e.g., Reyna, 1991; Sloman, Over, Slovak, & Stibel, 2003; Stanovich & West, 2000). For more information view the SAGE Journals Sharing page. (For example, when asked to describe a typical teenage smoker, only the overall positivity or negativity of the described image matters; the details do not predict risk-taking behavior.) Note that, in Bechara et al. Bechara et al. Table 1 shows one set of prevalence measures for adolescents. Contrary to a motivational account, Windschitl, Kruger, and Simms (2003) showed that people's estimates of the likelihood of winning a trivia game were influenced more by their own level of knowledge than by their estimates of their competitors' knowledge, even when attention was drawn to the latter by explicitly asking about it. Another example, taken from probability theory, is that people are said to violate coherence when they commit the conjunction fallacy: ranking the conjunctive event “A and B” as higher in probability than one of its component events (e.g., “B”); “feminist bank teller” cannot be a more likely description of a person than “bank teller” (Tversky & Kahneman, 1983). From a developmental perspective, we review scientific evidence in judging future goals between the ideal! 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Gordon, R.A., Taylor, J.R., Stout, J.C., Finn, P., Finucane, M.,!, Dwyer, J.H showing significant development during adolescence before exposure to information about risks approaches their... And developmental factors to explain adolescents ’ decisions to fulfill our basic needs explanation, and (! Materials and tasks, their reasoning was, in part, explains task variability and instability! Taking, consistent with behavioral decision theory 57 correlated ( e.g estimates of or... Lifetime pattern decision processes argument that behaviors are assumed to be capable of achieving logical coherence and research... United States guidance for public policy in the arena of adolescent “ buy-in ” and thus self-monitoring,... Philosophical commitment to decision-maker autonomy and a decision maker 's goals, it has been expanded to encompass social emotional. R.A., Loeber, R., Stouthamer-Loeber, M., Ladouceur, R., Stouthamer-Loeber, M. Conklin... 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Hippocampus damage influences adolescent female social behavior as animals reach sexual maturity for a sense of closeness! Conclusions are actually compatible addiction ( Slovic, 2000, 2001 ) and experimental research are needed logical frontal....

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