British Journal of Developmental Psychology

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Volume 37 Issue 1 (March 2019), Pages i-iv, 1-147

The role of intelligence in decision‐making in early adolescence (pages 101-111)

This study investigated the role of intelligence and its development across childhood in decision‐making in adolescence (age 11 years). The sample was 12,514 children from the UK's Millennium Cohort Study, followed at ages 3, 5, 7, and 11 years. Decision‐making (risk‐taking, quality of decision‐making, risk adjustment, deliberation time, and delay aversion) was measured with the Cambridge Gambling Task. Even after adjustment for confounding, intelligence was positively associated with risk adjustment and quality of decision‐making in both boys and girls. Furthermore, in girls risk adjustment was related positively to IQ gains. Our findings suggest that there are important, substantively, associations between intelligence and adapting behaviour to risk at the cusp of adolescence, the period when the response to risk can shape life trajectories. Statement of Contribution What is already known on this subject In children, intelligence and decision‐making, measured with gambling tasks, are inconsistently linked. This could be due to gambling tasks not separating risk‐taking from contingency‐learning. What the present study adds This study measured 11‐year‐olds’ decision‐making using a gambling task in which probabilities of different outcomes are presented explicitly. IQ was positively associated with risk adjustment and quality of decision‐making. Also significant were IQ gains (for risk adjustment, only in girls). There are links between intelligence and adapting behaviour to statistical risk in children.

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