Prioritjden: Differences between adolescents and adults in their delay discounting at different levels of ambiguity.
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The current study compared ambiguous and non-ambiguous intertemporal choices. A group of adolescents (12-17 years) was compared with a group of young adults (18-25 years). Participants had to complete an intertemporal choice task with choices between different amounts of monetary rewards received at different points of time. The task differentiated between exact and ambiguous trials. In the latter, it was unclear at which point of time they would receive the hypothetical reward, whereas in the former, there was a specific point of time given to the participants. The proportion of later-larger choices in the intertemporal choice task was taken as the dependent variable and the effects of age group, ambiguity level, and their interaction were tested in order to investigate the following hypotheses: (1) The proportion of LL choices will be smaller in adolescents than in young adults. (2) There will be a main effect of ambiguity level, with increasing ambiguity making participants less likely to choose the ambiguous option. (3) Age group and ambiguity will interact such that the ambiguity effect will be smaller in the adolescent group compared to the adult group. The hypotheses were tested with the help of a repeated measures ANOVA. The results showed a significant effect of age group, letting adults choose the LL option significantly more frequently than adolescents. A non-significant effect of ambiguity, and a non-significant interaction were found. This study serves as a basis for further intertemporal choice studies and provides evidence for ambiguity neutrality, therefore fueling the debate on this topic and the influence of age on risky decisions.
Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen