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Children's adaptive pre-decisional search behavior: Effects of memory and number of alternatives

By Idit Katz, Yoella Bereby-Meyer, Avi Assor and Shai Danziger

Abstract

This study examines whether cognitive-processing costs induce adaptive pre-decisional information search in children aged 7-8. Children aged 7-8 and 11-12 asked questions about objects kept in sealed boxes for the purpose of subsequent choice. Availability of a memory aid that recorded acquired information and choice set size were manipulated independently to create different levels of cognitive-processing cost. Children in both age groups asked proportionally fewer questions when gathered information had to be remembered relative to when it did not and when the choice set included four alternatives relative to two alternatives. These findings indicate that children as young as 7 years old demonstrate adaptive pre-decisional information search.Information search Memory Children Adaptive behavior Cognitive cost

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