Adolescents are overwhelmingly represented in outcomes of risk, such as drunk driving and unplanned pregnancy. Yet, teenagers possess many of the same decision making skills as adults and can accurately assess risk outcomes (Best & Miller, 2010; Furby & Beyth-Marom, 1992). Previous research has supported the premise that while general cognitive skills are only marginally impaired in adolescents when compared to adults, peers may exert a greater level of influence during adolescence regarding risky decision making compared to both childhood and adulthood (Furby & Beyth-Marom, 1992; Gardner & Steinberg, 2005). The current study investigated the effect of peer presence on decision-making using two measures of cool Executive Function [the Dimensional Change Card Sort (DCCS) test and the Attention Network (ANT) Test] and two measures of hot Executive Function [the Balloon Analogue Risk Test (BART) and the Stoplight (STOP) Test)] in a sample of younger adolescents (12-15 year olds) and older adolescents (18-21 year olds). A within subjects design was used to test performance differences in cool and hot executive function between two experimental contexts: an alone context and a peer context. A significant interaction between experimental context by age group by gender (F(1, 86) = 11.69, p < .001) in the ANT was found. Follow up Student Newman Keul's tests indicate that younger adolescent males improved on the ANT in the context of their peers. These data provide compelling support for the integration of context into the study of risk taking and decision making of adolescents. This contextually informed perspective allows researchers to form links between national survey/statistical data and laboratory-based experimentation.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2013. Major: Child Psychology. Advisor: Kathleen M. Thomas.1 computer file (PDF); vii, 79 pages, appendices A-B.
Cowell, Raquel Antoinette.
Do peers alter decision making processes in adolescence? an examination of peer influence on cool and hot executive function.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.