Adolescents ' Risk Taking Behavior Is Driven By Tolerance Ambiguity

1048 Words Nov 7th, 2014 null Page
An October 2012 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), titled “Adolescents’ risk-taking behavior is driven by tolerance ambiguity” validates the notion that adolescents are more likely to take risks than adults. Directed by head researcher and postdoctoral New York University student Agnieszka Tymula, the study goes as far as to claim that teenagers have about double the risk of death compared to that of pre-adolescents. It was only recently, however, that researchers began to understand the intricacies of the adolescent brain and its correlation with their ostensibly senseless actions. Research under the PNAS study suggests that adolescents tend to overestimate certain risks—such as unprotected sex, drug use, or criminal behavior. In attempt to discover the dichotomy between risk-taking in adolescents versus risk-taking in adults, researchers studied 33 healthy adolescents aged 12 to 17, in addition to 30 adults aged 30 to 50. Participants were asked to engage in a gambling game, which presented two options: a definite $5 reward or the opportunity of receiving a greater payout or nothing at all. The payout was determined by probability—whether or not there was a greater representation of red or blue poker chips in stack of 100 chips. On half of the trials, outcome probability was greatly specified, while on the other half, outcome probability was ambiguous. In order to vary the ambiguity, larger or smaller portions of the stacks…

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