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Awareness and symbol use improves future-oriented decision making in preschoolers

N. Garon, C. Moore

A child version of the Iowa Gambling task was used to explore the development of decision-making during the preschool period in two experiments. One hundred eighty-one children, 3.5 and 4.5 years of age, were asked to choose between a bad deck with higher immediate but lower long-term rewards and a good deck with lower immediate but higher long-term rewards. Experiment 1 explored age differences and the association of the gambling task with a delay of gratification task. Age differences in performance were found, supporting previous findings (Kerr & Zelazo, 2004) of a development difference between 3- and 4-year-old children in future-oriented decision making. Performance on the gambling task was found to be significantly associated with delay of gratification for 3.5-year-old children only. Experiment 2 explored the effect of labeling and symbol use on performance. Although having 4.5-year-old children label decks as good or bad improved their performance on the task, this labeling had no effect on 3.5-year-old childrens performance. However, having 3.5-year-old children place a symbol representing good and bad next to the decks did improve performance, but only for those children who were able to correctly label the decks. These results suggest an interaction between conscious awareness, symbol use, ...

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: article in journal •
published in
: 2008 •
: Developmental Neuropsychology •
: age factors, awareness, child, child development, choice behavior, decision-making, female, gambling, humans, inhibition, male, motivation, preschool, symbolism