A comparison of children and adults’ judgements and decisions based on verbal uncertainty statements


Children distinguish less well than adolescents the numerical meaning conveyed by verbal probabilities (e.g., Mullet & Rivet, 1991). Little is known, however, about children’s ability to grasp the directionality of verbal probabilities (Teigen & Brun, 1995). We expected children to only be influenced by directionality and congruence of statement framing with their goal. Thirty children and 29 adults made probability judgements and decisions in a treasure hunt context. Results revealed that children are sensitive to the numerical meaning of verbal probabilities in decisions, and also in probability judgements related to goal-incongruent statement framings. The different demands implied by judging probabilities and decision-making will be discussed, as well as the independence of directionality and numerical value in adults’ interpretation of verbal probabilities.

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