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Children perform extensive information gathering when it is not costly

Bowler, A; Habicht, J; Moses-Payne, ME; Steinbeis, N; Moutoussis, M; Hauser, TU; (2021) Children perform extensive information gathering when it is not costly. Cognition , 208 , Article 104535. 10.1016/j.cognition.2020.104535. Green open access

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Abstract

Humans often face decisions where little is known about the choice options. Gathering information prior to making a choice is an important strategy to improve decision making under uncertainty. This is of particular importance during childhood and adolescence, when knowledge about the world is still limited. To examine how much information youths gather, we asked 107 children (8-9 years, N = 30), early (12-13 years, N = 41) and late adolescents (16-17 years, N = 36) to perform an information sampling task. We find that children gather significantly more information before making a decision compared to adolescents, but only if it does not come with explicit costs. Using computational modelling, we find that this is because children have reduced subjective costs for gathering information. Our findings thus demonstrate how children overcome their limited knowledge and neurocognitive constraints by deploying excessive information gathering, a developmental feature that could inform aberrant information gathering in psychiatric disorders.

Type: Article
Title: Children perform extensive information gathering when it is not costly
Location: Netherlands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2020.104535
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2020.104535
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Cognitive development, Computational modelling, Information gathering
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
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/10118452
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