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Predictors of risky foraging behaviour in healthy young people

Bach, DR; Moutoussis, M; Bowler, A; Dolan, RJ; (2020) Predictors of risky foraging behaviour in healthy young people. Nature Human Behaviour , 4 pp. 832-843. 10.1038/s41562-020-0867-0. Green open access

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Abstract

During adolescence and early adulthood, learning when to avoid threats and when to pursue rewards becomes crucial. Using a risky foraging task, we investigated individual differences in this dynamic across 781 individuals aged 14–24 years who were split into a hypothesis-generating discovery sample and a hold-out confirmation sample. Sex was the most important predictor of cautious behaviour and performance. Males earned one standard deviation (or 20%) more reward than females, collected more reward when there was little to lose and reduced foraging to the same level as females when potential losses became high. Other independent predictors of cautiousness and performance were self-reported daringness, IQ and self-reported cognitive complexity. We found no evidence for an impact of age or maturation. Thus, maleness, a high IQ or self-reported cognitive complexity, and self-reported daringness predicted greater success in risky foraging, possibly due to better exploitation of low-risk opportunities in high-risk environments.

Type: Article
Title: Predictors of risky foraging behaviour in healthy young people
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41562-020-0867-0
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-020-0867-0
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Medical research, Psychology
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10101505
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