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Dev Psychol. 2014 Jan;50(1):237-46. doi: 10.1037/a0032493. Epub 2013 Apr 1.

Developmental and gender related differences in response switches after nonrepresentative negative feedback.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Developmental Psychology, University of Amsterdam.


In many decision making tasks negative feedback is probabilistic and, as a consequence, may be given when the decision is actually correct. This feedback can be referred to as nonrepresentative negative feedback. In the current study, we investigated developmental and gender related differences in such switching after nonrepresentative negative feedback. Participants performed a new probabilistic negative feedback task in which properties of choice options were known to the participants; therefore, they did not have to learn the correct response. The task was administered to a developmental sample between 8 and 16 years of age (N = 170). Results indicated that switching after nonrepresentative negative feedback decreased with age and that this switching was more pronounced in females than in males. We discuss results in light of an imbalance between emotional and inhibition systems and tentatively conclude that it is likely that the age related differences are predominantly related to the strength of the inhibition system, whereas the gender related differences are predominantly related to the strength of the emotional system.

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