Human development of the ability to learn from bad news

Moutsiana, C., Garrett, N., Clarke, R.C., Lotto, R.B., Blakemore, S.J. and Sharot, T. 2013. Human development of the ability to learn from bad news. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 110 (41), pp. 16396-16401. doi:10.1073/pnas.1305631110

TitleHuman development of the ability to learn from bad news
AuthorsMoutsiana, C., Garrett, N., Clarke, R.C., Lotto, R.B., Blakemore, S.J. and Sharot, T.
Abstract

Humans show a natural tendency to discount bad news while incorporating good news into beliefs (the “good news–bad news effect”), an effect that may help explain seemingly irrational risk taking. Understanding how this bias develops with age is important because adolescents are prone to engage in risky behavior; thus, educating them about danger is crucial. We reveal a striking valence-dependent asymmetry in how belief updating develops with age. In the ages tested (9–26 y), younger age was associated with inaccurate updating of beliefs in response to undesirable information regarding vulnerability. In contrast, the ability to update beliefs accurately in response to desirable information remained relatively stable with age. This asymmetry was mediated by adequate computational use of positive but not negative estimation errors to alter beliefs. The results are important for understanding how belief formation develops and might help explain why adolescents do not respond adequately to warnings.

JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Journal citation110 (41), pp. 16396-16401
ISSN1091-6490
Year2013
PublisherNational Academy of Sciences
Publisher's version
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1073/pnas.1305631110
Publication dates
Published08 Oct 2013

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