London Judgement and Decision Making

  • Alex Lloyd (Participant)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course


Adolescence is a period of increased exploratory and risk-taking behaviours. These behaviours have traditionally been considered maladaptive within the lifespan, having been associated with increased rates of dangerous driving, substance misuse and injury (e.g. Eaton et al. 2012). However, recent reviews have suggested that these behaviours have adaptive properties (Romer, Reyna & Satterthwaite, 2017). On this account, exploratory behaviours support information-gathering and allow adolescents to develop the independence necessary for adulthood. This talk will present evidence for an adaptive account of risk-taking in adolescence. First, findings will be presented demonstrating that adolescents are more likely to gamble in conditions of ambiguity compared to risk, suggesting this age group are more tolerant of variable outcomes when environmental information is limited. Next, evidence will be presented from a study examining adolescents’ performance in a decision-making task adapted from ecology: patch foraging. This paradigm measures the opportunity cost of choosing whether to exploit or explore a resource. Exploiting gradually yields fewer rewards over time, whilst exploration involves finding a new resource with a fresh distribution of rewards. Using computational and statistical modelling, it was found that adolescents’ predisposition for exploration led to more optimal outcomes, as they accrued greater points throughout the task compared to adult participants. Based on these findings, it will be suggested that risk-taking in adolescence is normative and accounts that characterise these behaviours as maladaptive are only applicable to a subsample of this population.
Period22 Jan 2020
Event typeSeminar
LocationLondonShow on map