Shuffle the Decks: Children Are Sensitive to Incidental Nonrandom Structure in a Sequential-Choice Task.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

As children age, they can learn increasingly complex features of environmental structure-a key prerequisite for adaptive decision-making. Yet when we tested children (N = 304, 4-13 years old) in the Children's Gambling Task, an age-appropriate variant of the Iowa Gambling Task, we found that age was negatively associated with performance. However, this paradoxical effect of age was found only in children who exhibited a maladaptive deplete-replenish bias, a tendency to shift choices after positive outcomes and repeat choices after negative outcomes. We found that this bias results from sensitivity to incidental nonrandom structure in the canonical, deterministic forms of these tasks-and that it would actually lead to optimal outcomes if the tasks were not deterministic. Our results illustrate that changes in decision-making across early childhood reflect, in part, increasing sensitivity to environmental structure.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Breslav, ADS; Zucker, NL; Schechter, JC; Majors, A; Bidopia, T; Fuemmeler, BF; Kollins, SH; Huettel, SA

Published Date

  • April 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 33 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 550 - 562

PubMed ID

  • 35266414

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC9096196

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1467-9280

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/09567976211042007


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States