Sonification and Visualization of Predecisional Information Search: Identifying Toolboxes in Children

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Prior evidence has suggested that preschoolers and elementary schoolers search information largely with no systematic plan when making decisions in probabilistic environments. However, this finding might be due to the insensitivity of standard classification methods that assume a lack of variance in decision strategies for tasks of the same kind. Using a novel approach, we explore strategy variability in existing data that documented unsystematic searches in children (Betsch, Lehmann, Lindow, Lang, & Schoemann, 2016). By means of sonification and visualizations, we identified combinations of search patterns that children employed systematically. In contrast to adult controls, there was no dominating strategy in children. Rather, they used a limited number of strategies (toolboxes) and switched between them over a series of trials belonging to the same type of decision task.

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