Approach-avoidance orientations can predict young children’s decision-making

Avi Benozio*, Reshit Cohenian, Robert Hepach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When facing situations that involve risk and reward, some may focus on the opportunity for reward, whereas others may focus on potential risks. Here, we used an original set of pictorial scenarios to try and predict 3- to 8-year-olds’ reward-seeking and risk-avoiding behavior in three decision-making scenarios (N = 99; Mage = 5.6; 47% girls). We found that children’s reward-risk tendencies did not predict sharing behavior in a dictator-game ‘sharing’ task. However, they predicted children’s monopolizing behavior in a dictator-game ‘taking’ task and their preferences between taking home a ‘risky’ or a ‘safe’ reward in a novel prize-preference task. Overall, using a set of original pictorial scenarios to assess individual differences early on in development now provides initial evidence that bridges individual differences and decision-making domains and exposes behavioral patterns that were thus far hidden.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere0288799
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7 July
StatePublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Benozio et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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