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Study Shows Younger Children Tend to Make More Informed Decisions

A new study from the University of Waterloo has found that in some ways, the older you get, the worse your decision-making becomes. The study established that younger children seem to make slightly better decisions than older children. The older children get, the more they tend to ignore some of the information available to them when making judgments, which though efficient can also lead to mistakes.

Stephanie Denison, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology, who co-authored the study with Ph.D. student Samantha Gualtieri, said:

In two experiments, 288 children were assessed to determine whether they used numerical, social, or both types of information when making judgments. Ninety-five percent of the 6-year-olds depended on only the social information to make a judgment compared to 70 percent of 5-year-olds and 45 percent of 4-year-olds. The younger children were more likely to take both pieces of information into account.

The researchers do not deem older children’s overuse of social as negative, it simply shows how children weigh information when making decisions. Adults also tend to not use all the information at their disposal when making judgments, possibly because it is time-consuming and requires lots of mental energy. Denison said:

The study, “The development of the representativeness heuristic in young children,” was published recently in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.

Provided by: University of Waterloo [Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.]

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Troy Oakes
Troy was born and raised in Australia and has always wanted to know why and how things work, which led him to his love for science. He is a professional photographer and enjoys taking pictures of Australia's beautiful landscapes. He is also a professional storm chaser where he currently lives in Hervey Bay, Australia.

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