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Affective and deliberative processes in risky choice: Age differences in risk taking in the Columbia Card Task


Figner, B; Mackinlay, R J; Wilkening, F; Weber, E U (2009). Affective and deliberative processes in risky choice: Age differences in risk taking in the Columbia Card Task. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 35(3):709-730.

Abstract

The authors investigated risk taking and underlying information use in 13- to 16- and 17- to 19-year-old adolescents and in adults in 4 experiments, using a novel dynamic risk-taking task, the Columbia Card Task (CCT). The authors investigated risk taking under differential involvement of affective versus deliberative processes with 2 versions of the CCT, constituting the most direct test of a dual-system explanation of adolescent risk taking in the literature so far. The “hot” CCT was designed to trigger more affective decision making, whereas the “cold” CCT was designed to trigger more deliberative decision making. Differential involvement of affective versus deliberative processes in the 2 CCT versions was established by self-reports and assessment of electrodermal activity. Increased adolescent risk taking, coupled with simplified information use, was found in the hot but not the cold condition. Need-for-arousal predicted risk taking only in the hot condition, whereas executive functions predicted information use in the cold condition. Results are consistent with recent dual-system explanations of risk taking as the result of competition between affective processes and deliberative cognitive-control processes, with adolescents’ affective system tending to override the deliberative system in states of heightened emotional arousal.

Abstract

The authors investigated risk taking and underlying information use in 13- to 16- and 17- to 19-year-old adolescents and in adults in 4 experiments, using a novel dynamic risk-taking task, the Columbia Card Task (CCT). The authors investigated risk taking under differential involvement of affective versus deliberative processes with 2 versions of the CCT, constituting the most direct test of a dual-system explanation of adolescent risk taking in the literature so far. The “hot” CCT was designed to trigger more affective decision making, whereas the “cold” CCT was designed to trigger more deliberative decision making. Differential involvement of affective versus deliberative processes in the 2 CCT versions was established by self-reports and assessment of electrodermal activity. Increased adolescent risk taking, coupled with simplified information use, was found in the hot but not the cold condition. Need-for-arousal predicted risk taking only in the hot condition, whereas executive functions predicted information use in the cold condition. Results are consistent with recent dual-system explanations of risk taking as the result of competition between affective processes and deliberative cognitive-control processes, with adolescents’ affective system tending to override the deliberative system in states of heightened emotional arousal.

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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:May 2009
Deposited On:28 Feb 2010 12:20
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:57
Publisher:American Psychological Association
ISSN:0278-7393
Funders:Swiss National Science Foundation, U.S. National Science Foundation, Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1037/a0014983
Other Identification Number:10.1037/a0014983

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