The development of the asymmetrically dominated decoy effect in young children

Shanshan Zhen, Rongjun Yu*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    One classic example of context-independent violations is the asymmetrically dominated decoy effect, in which adding a decoy option (inferior option) to a set of original options often increases the individual's preference for one option over the other original option. Despite the prevalence of this effect, little is known about its developmental origins. Moreover, it remains contentious whether the decoy effect is a result of biological evolution or is learned from social experience. Here, we investigated the decoy effect in 3-to 7-year-old children (n = 175) and young adults (n = 52) using a simple perceptual task. Results showed that older children (5-year-olds and 7-year-olds), but not younger children (3-year-olds), exhibited a decoy effect. Nevertheless, children as young as age 5 exhibited a decoy effect that was not significantly different from that shown by young adults. These findings suggest that humans start to appreciate the relative values of options at around age 5.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number22678
    Number of pages7
    JournalScientific Reports
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2016

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • General


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