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Executive Functions and Adolescent Risk Taking: A dual system approach
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2010 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This study examined the relation between executive functioning (EF) and

risk taking in adolescents using a dual system approach. According to the

dual system perspective adolescents are prone to engage in risky behaviors

as a result of an imbalance between the cognitive control system and the

affective system (Casey, Getz & Galvan, 2008; Cohen, 2005; Steinberg,

2008; Van Leijenhorst et al., 2010). We investigated both the possible

direct impact EF capacity has on risk taking as well as how the

developmental trajectory of EF influences adolescent risk taking. 34

participants between 15-18 years of age from a non-clinical group carried

out four computerized tasks. Two tasks measured risk taking, the Balloon

Analogue Risk Task (BART) and the Columbia Card Task (CCT) and two

tasks measured EF, N-back and the Matrix Monitoring Task. The

participants had earlier carried out similar EF tasks in 2004 and 2008. The

results showed that risk taking tendencies correlated negatively with

performance in the EF tasks. No correlation was found between

developmental trajectories of EF and risk taking. An alternative

explanation for this result is presented. Our findings indicate support for

the dual system perspective and we discuss some practical implications of

the dual system way of looking at risk taking.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. , 17 p.
Keyword [en]
executive functions, risk taking, adolescence, dual system
National Category
Psychology Psychology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-39398Archive number: P743OAI: diva2:392280
Available from: 2011-01-26 Created: 2011-01-26 Last updated: 2011-02-07Bibliographically approved

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