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When easy comes hard: the development of adaptive strategy selection


Mata, Rui; von Helversen, Bettina; Rieskamp, Jörg (2011). When easy comes hard: the development of adaptive strategy selection. Child Development, 82(2):687-700.

Abstract

Can children learn to select the right strategy for a given problem? In one experiment, 9- to 10-year-olds (N = 50), 11- to 12-year-olds (N = 50), and adults (N = 50) made probabilistic inferences. Participants encountered environments favoring either an information-intensive strategy that integrates all available information or an information-frugal strategy that relies only on the most valid pieces of information. Nine- to 10-year-olds but not older children or adults had more difficulties learning to select an information-frugal strategy than an information-intensive strategy. This counterintuitive finding is explained by children's less developed ability to selectively attend to relevant information, an ability that seems to develop during late childhood. The results suggest that whether a strategy can be considered "easy" depends on the development of specific cognitive abilities.

Abstract

Can children learn to select the right strategy for a given problem? In one experiment, 9- to 10-year-olds (N = 50), 11- to 12-year-olds (N = 50), and adults (N = 50) made probabilistic inferences. Participants encountered environments favoring either an information-intensive strategy that integrates all available information or an information-frugal strategy that relies only on the most valid pieces of information. Nine- to 10-year-olds but not older children or adults had more difficulties learning to select an information-frugal strategy than an information-intensive strategy. This counterintuitive finding is explained by children's less developed ability to selectively attend to relevant information, an ability that seems to develop during late childhood. The results suggest that whether a strategy can be considered "easy" depends on the development of specific cognitive abilities.

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17 citations in Web of Science®
19 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:03 Mar 2017 09:30
Last Modified:03 Mar 2017 09:30
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0009-3920
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01535.x
PubMed ID:21410920

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