A meta-analysis on age differences in risky decision making: Adolescents versus children and adults
Number of pages
SourcePsychological Bulletin, 141, 1, (2015), pp. 48-84
Article / Letter to editor
Display more detailsDisplay less details
SW OZ BSI KLP
SubjectExperimental Psychopathology and Treatment
Despite evident heightened adolescent risk-taking in real-life situations, not all experimental studies demonstrate that adolescents take more risks than children and adults on risky decision-making tasks. In the current 4 independent meta-analyses, neurodevelopmental imbalance models and fuzzy trace theory were used as conceptual frameworks to examine whether adolescents engage in more risk-taking than children and adults and whether early adolescents take more risks than children and mid-late adolescents on behavioral risk-taking tasks. Studies with at least 1 of the aforementioned age comparisons met the inclusion criteria. Consistent with imbalance models and fuzzy trace theory, results from a random-effects model showed that adolescents take more risks (g = .37) than adults, and early adolescents take more risks (g = .15) than mid-late adolescents. However, inconsistent with both perspectives, adolescents and children take equal levels of risk (g = -.00), and early adolescents and children also take equal levels of risk (g = .04). Meta-regression analyses revealed that, consistent with imbalance models, (a) adolescents take more risks than adults on hot tasks with immediate outcome feedback on rewards and losses; however, contrary to imbalance models but consistent with fuzzy trace theory, (b) adolescents take fewer risks than children on tasks with a sure/safe option. Shortcomings related to studies using behavioral risk-taking tasks are discussed. We suggest a hybrid developmental neuroecological model of risk-taking that includes a risk opportunity component to explain why adolescents take more risks than children in the real world but equal levels of risks as children in the laboratory.
Upload full text
Use your RU credentials (u/z-number and password) to log in with SURFconext to upload a file for processing by the repository team.