HomePhilippine Journal of Psychologyvol. 41 no. 1 (2008)

Retrospective Rationality: An Experimental Comparison of Adolescent and Adult Risky Decision-Making

Adrianne John R. Galang

Discipline: Psychology




The widely held conjecture about adolescents being prone to engage in risky decision making might be based on neurological immaturity. Measurement of capacities believed to be linked to prefrontal executive function and affective learning was hypothesized to yield evidence supporting a developmental neuropsychology account. Within a quasi-experimental design, a sample undergraduate (n=17) and graduate students (n=15) was tested on Bechara el al.'s (1994) Iowa Gambling Task. lGT (net amount and optimality) did not correlate with age, and no significant differences were found between the two comparison groups. However, a probe question in connection with retrospective deck preference yielded a significant difference (X =4.158, p=0.041) of moderate effect size (Cramer's V=0.360) between adolescent and adult samples, with adolescents more likely to choose a risky deck as their preferred forced–choice deck. Discussion implicates possible developmental differences in heuristic processing.