Do visually salient stimuli reduce children's risky decisions?

David C. Schwebel, Elizabeth K. Lucas, Alana Pearson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Children tend to overestimate their physical abilities, and that tendency is related to risk for unintentional injury. This study tested whether or not children estimate their physical ability differently when exposed to stimuli that were highly visually salient due to fluorescent coloring. Sixty-nine 6-year-olds judged physical ability to complete laboratory-based physical tasks. Half judged ability using tasks that were painted black; the other half judged the same tasks, but the stimuli were striped black and fluorescent lime-green. Results suggest the two groups judged similarly, but children took longer to judge perceptually ambiguous tasks when those tasks were visually salient. In other words, visual salience increased decision-making time but not accuracy of judgment. These findings held true after controlling for demographic and temperament characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-232
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Ability estimation
  • Fluorescence
  • Injury
  • Perception
  • Risk-taking
  • Safety


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