Poster Abstracts

Abstract

Decision-making is an important skill, especially for young adolescents navigating increasingly complex social and academic contexts. While decision-making is not directly assessed in most neuropsychological evaluations, many cognitive abilities that are assessed affect decision-making. Individual differences in the detection of when analytical thinking is needed (i.e., reflection) also affect decision-making. The current study examined expected value (EV) sensitivity on a decision-making task among 150 healthy early adolescents between the ages of 10 and 15 (Mage = 13.0, 53% female). Adolescents also completed subtests from the National Institute of Health Toolbox Cognition Battery, in addition to numeracy and cognitive reflection measures. EV sensitivity increased with age and was positively associated with receptive vocabulary (r = .31), working memory (r = .33), numeracy (r = .40), and reflection (r = .25). Only working memory and numeracy were significant predictors of EV sensitivity in a regression controlling for age and gender. Working memory and numeracy mediated the effect of age on EV sensitivity. This study replicates recent research and adds to a growing body of literature on the importance of working memory for the development of rational decision-making and as a protective factor for risky decision-making in adolescence. Implications for assessment are discussed.

First AuthorBrandon Almy