Children's judgements and decisions under verbal uncertainty

Gourdon, Amélie and Beck, Sarah R. (2009) Children's judgements and decisions under verbal uncertainty. In: 22nd Subjective Probability, Utility, and Decision Making Conference; 23-27 Aug 2009, Rovereto, Italy. (Unpublished)


Little is known about how children understand verbal probabilities and make decisions based on them. Gourdon and Villejoubert (2009) found that 8-year-old children were able to make decisions based on verbal probabilities in the same way as adults (i.e. relying on both the likelihood and the directionality), though they judged the likelihood of events described by these verbal probabilities based only on the directionality. Aiming to replicate these findings we asked 23 7-year-olds and 24 8-year-olds to evaluate verbal probabilities expressed in daily situations. Results indicated that 7-year-olds were influenced by directionality when judging expected value, whereas 8-year-olds were affected when judging likelihood. When making decisions, the directionality had no effect. Surprisingly, the likelihood had no effect on responses. We discuss potential differences between the Gourdon and Villejoubert’s task and ours, and future research.

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