Development of "hot" executive function: The children's gambling task

Aurora Kerr, Philip D Zelazo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

263 Scopus citations

Abstract

Development of affective decision-making was studied in 48 children at two ages (3 and 4 years) using a simplified version of the Iowa Gambling Task (Bechara, Damasio, Damasio, & Anderson, 1994). On each of 50 trials, children chose from 1 of 2 decks of cards that, when turned, displayed happy and sad faces, corresponding to rewards (candies) won and lost, respectively. Cards in 1 deck offered more rewards per trial, but were disadvantageous across trials due to occasional large losses; cards in the other deck offered fewer rewards per trial, but were advantageous overall. On later trials, 4-year-olds made more advantageous choices than 3-year-olds, and 4-year-olds made more advantageous choices than would be expected by chance, whereas 3-year-olds made more disadvantageous choices than would be expected by chance. These findings, which were especially pronounced for girls, indicate that affective decision-making develops rapidly during the preschool period, possibly reflecting the growth of neural systems involving orbitofrontal cortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-157
Number of pages10
JournalBrain and Cognition
Volume55
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • "Hot" executive function
  • Decision-making
  • Executive function
  • Gambling
  • Orbitofrontal cortex
  • Sex differences
  • Young children

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