Aim: This study tested the mediating role of probabilistic reasoning ability in the relationship between fluid intelligence and advantageous decision making among adolescents in explicit situations of risk-that is, in contexts in which information on the choice options (gains, losses, and probabilities) were explicitly presented at the beginning of the task. Method: Participants were 282 adolescents attending high school (77% males, mean age = 17.3 years). We first measured fluid intelligence and probabilistic reasoning ability. Then, to measure decision making under explicit conditions of risk, participants performed the Game of Dice Task, in which they have to decide among different alternatives that are explicitly linked to a specific amount of gain or loss and have obvious winning probabilities that are stable over time. Results: Analyses showed a significant positive indirect effect of fluid intelligence on advantageous decision making through probabilistic reasoning ability that acted as a mediator. Specifically, fluid intelligence may enhance ability to reason in probabilistic terms, which in turn increases the likelihood of advantageous choices when adolescents are confronted with an explicit decisional context. Conclusions: Findings show that in experimental paradigm settings, adolescents are able to make advantageous decisions using cognitive abilities when faced with decisions under explicit risky conditions. This study suggests that interventions designed to promote probabilistic reasoning, for example by incrementing the mathematical prerequisites necessary to reason in probabilistic terms, may have a positive effect on adolescents decision-making abilities. © 2014 Taylor & Francis.
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